- Hardcover: 240 pages
- Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (March 15, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780470558423
- ISBN-13: 978-0470558423
- ASIN: 0470558423
- Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.8 x 9.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,115,905 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Responsibility Revolution: How the Next Generation of Businesses Will Win Hardcover – March 15, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
With the public increasingly embracing ecological sustainability, many businesses have pledged to be good corporate citizens-but how committed are they? Hollender, chairman of clean household company Seventh Generation, shares his own company's process of redefining its mission and values, and makes an unimpeachable argument for how sustainable business practices protect both the environment and employees. However, he fails to obviate criticisms or concerns that companies can remain competitive and profitable while undergoing the transition to becoming more environmentally conscious. For example, Hollender describes how outdoor clothing and equipment company Patagonia decided to move from chemically grown or treated cotton and wool to "good cotton," only to find that their demand exceeded supply. Patagonia had to convert farmers to new growing methods, which increased the price of their product. While the company "eventually right-sized itself," and "influenced far bigger companies... to follow its lead," it is unclear what the company's return on investment was or how long it took to achieve. While corporate responsibility is an incontrovertibly attractive ethos, this work skimps on the finer points and complications of making this necessary-but complex-transition.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
"While the book lays down the business case of sustainable and responsible companies succinctly, it also gives key pointers on the way leadership is set to change in the coming years. " —CNBC.com, April 1, 2010
"Hollender’s access combined with Breen’s reporting skills produce unusually detailed and thoughtful profiles." —Inc. Magazine, April 2010
"While outwardly your business is driven by your social mission, what happens inside your company is an expression of that mission as well. That means also focusing your passionate energy inward to create a fair and beneficial work environment for your employees. In his new book, The Responsibility Revolution, Hollender describes this principleas striving to be authentically good, by building the mission into every part of your business."—Inc.com, March 31, 2010
"Most companies understand that pursuing a laudable mission can amount to a land of rich opportunity. But to successfully travel the road to corporate responsibility, an enterprise must navigate around six daunting land mines…"—HuffingtonPost.com, March 15, 2010
"Entertaining and thought-provoking."—JustMeans.com, March 15, 2010
"In his new book, Jeffrey shows companies how to surpass sustainability and makes a clear case that going beyond sustainability is a competitive advantage."—CauseCapitalism.com, March 15, 2010
"Unlike many of its companions on the shelf in the business section, this book is a pleasure to read. Much of the over-used CSR jargon is absent, the authors have jettisoned ‘bloodless buzzwords like ‘corporate responsibility’ and ‘accountability’ in the first steps of their revolution. The writing is vibrant, pointed, and succinct, much like the advice it imparts."—The CSR Digest, March 15, 2010
"Hollender is at his best when evangelizing and encouraging vision. He likes to tell the story of how his company came to be called Seventh Generation, quoting from the founding document of the native American Iroquois confederacy, ‘In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations.’ Thinking like that would truly make for a responsible—and sustainable—business revolution."—Business Ethics, March 18, 2010
"Hollender, chairman of clean household company Seventh Generation, shares his own company's process of redefining its mission and values, and makes an unimpeachable argument for how sustainable business practices protect both the environment and employees."—Publishers Weekly, March 2010
Articles, excerpts, interviews, Q&A, and mentions with the authors also from:
—Harvard Business Review blog, March 31, 2010
—Forbes.com, March 31, 2010
—CNNMoney.com, March 29, 2010
—TheDailyGreen.com, March 29, 2010
—Harvard Business Review, March 2010
"Jeffrey Hollender and Bill Breen give us the inside scoop on how truly responsible companies out-think and out-perform their conventional-minded competitors. Part manual and part manifesto, The Responsibility Revolution delivers a truckload of examples for growing a company that benefits society as well as shareholders. I only wish we had The Responsibility Revolution’s real-world lessons when we launched Ben & Jerry’s."—Ben Cohen, co-founder, Ben & Jerry’s
"Jeffrey Hollender is a true master of the arts in unifying business with ecology. A rarity indeed, he is one who practices what he teaches."—Horst M. Rechelbacher, founder, Intelligent Nutrients
"My hat is off to Jeffrey Hollender and Bill Breen for their daring new book, The Responsibility Revolution. Drawing on their personal experiences in building the highly successful company, Seventh Generation, and on a wealth of other material, they show with force and eloquence what’s required for corporations to transcend the failed promise of ‘corporate social responsibility’ and give real leadership in building a new economy where people and planet flourish. No more hype and platitudes, The Responsibility Revolution is the real item—a Baedeker for businesses that want to be part of a future that works."—James Gustave Speth, author of The Bridges at the Edge of the World: Capitalism, the Environment, and Crossing From Crisis to Sustainability
"The Responsibility Revolution is a welcome, hopeful, and timely road map for truly sustainable 21st-century commerce in which people and the planet actually count, and profits are the means but not the ends. Cynics beware—their optimistic analysis derives from real evidence that we may in fact be getting commerce right. Their guidance is visionary and their vision gives great guidance. This is a must-read 21st-century primer for investors, entrepreneurs, consumers, and policy-makers alike."—Gary Hirschberg, president and CE-Yo, Stonyfield Farm, Inc.
"Jeffrey Hollender and Bill Breen have collaborated to produce a remarkably detailed road map for businesses that are searching sincerely for the path to good reputation, high purpose, and deep respect. Read this book for a new clarity about the power of all three qualities, and the path to authentic realization thereof."—Ray C. Anderson, founder and chairman, Interface, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
While some of the examples are well documented (Stonyfield, Walmart/Organic Valley), others are not often cited in the context of environmental initiatives (Marsh and Spencer, IBM, Novo Nordisk, etc.). Overall, these case studies in itself are well worth the read. One wishes that an individual (at the consumer level) could have benefited more directly than gaining a broad awareness of the emerging version of capitalism centered on corporate responsibility (primarily, centered on socio-environmental causes). A good read.
Besides the chipboard cover, what makes this book different? What makes it worth reading? The authors' relevant experience, particularly at Seventh Generation, gives them credibility. The examples and case studies are drawn from many sources, not only from frequently-cited paragons of responsibility like Organic Valley and Patagonia but from companies such as eBay, Linden Lab, and Nike as well. There is an acknowledgment that perfection cannot be achieved but that it is necessary to work towards it anyhow.
The basic premise is that corporations will have to change to become responsible for their effects on different systems--environmental, governmental, social--both broadly and deeply. This is inevitable and will happen either voluntarily or in response to outside forces and it presents an opportunity. It is no longer enough for corporations to stay out of trouble but they must actively seek to fulfill a universally beneficial mission. Co-ops, values, communication, employee relationships, transparency to increase accountability and earn trust: it's all covered.
The table of contents is high-level and the chapter summaries are sparse but facts and figures are well-referenced and the indexing is particularly well done. The end notes are interesting enough that they could have been included at the end of each chapter or as footnotes.
Will this new brand of enlightened capitalism save our planet, feed the hungry, heal the sick, and ensure universal happiness? No, but compare it to enlightened absolutism and realize that under capitalism, it's likely the best we can do.