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What Matters Most: How a Small Group of Pioneers Is Teaching Social Responsibility to Big Business, and Why Big Business Is Listening Paperback – January 3, 2006
Hollender borrows from best sellers such as Built to Last but he is willing to ask the tough questions: When do core values conflict with goals and commitments? Does being a responsible business really cost shareholders more money? How do corporate charters inhibit social responsibility? How can reputation become a corporate pressure point? His answers are provided in seven approaches to social responsibility. Each defines new metrics to define prosperity, environmental stewardship and corporate citizenship. For example, he unpacks the strategy of "transparency" in descriptions of Challenger explosion, the embedded journalists of The Gulf War and the SARs epidemic. Sometimes these powerful strategies are swamped in an overabundance of examples, sources, or acronyms of activists groups. But Hollender's comprehension shows us the forest and the trees. --Barbara Mackoff --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
As one of the pioneers in the corporate social responsibility (CSR) movement, Hollender is evangelical about promoting the implementation of CSR "in all of its forms." I'm not sure I know what he means by that. As he acknowledges, it's in the "mind of the beholder" because there's "no firm consensus" about what CSR means. I certainly can't criticize him for not pinning down the concept. Professor Ronald Sims (2003), in his own book on the subject for instance, has offered five different definitions. I think Hollender equates CSR with the idea of a triple-bottom line of responsibility and accountability for fulfilling what he thinks should be the financial, social, and environmental obligations of a corporation.
Margaret Mead once said in effect that social change always starts and can only start with a small group of people. The small group identified in the book as pioneers in the CSR movement include small business entrepreneurs like Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield of Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream, socially responsible investment funds like the Calvert Social Investment Fund, and a host of advocacy groups or non-governmental organizations (NGOs) like the activist group, Greenpeace, and the more reserved Businesses for Social Responsibility (BSR) that was conceived as sort of an alternative Chamber of Commerce.
The book gives an interesting account of the different ways in which these pioneers promote CSR among big corporations. One way, for instance, is non-confrontational and educative in trying to "bring big business [no matter how socially irresponsible] to the table and then move the table.Read more ›
Hollender identifies the real heroes and heroines of today's CSR movement - those people taking strong stands, putting their wallets and mouths where they claim their values to be.
If you have any interest in changing the way business relates to the rest of society so we all can see a better future, get this book!
- John Renesch, author, Getting to the Better Future
I appreciate What Matters Most as a cautionary tale keeping me alert to some of the perils of my chosen approach (Socially Responsible Investing as a vehicle for change). I had the privilege of hearing Jeffrey Hollender speak at a Working Assets brown bag lunch lecture. He is a forceful presence and very inspiring in his forthrightness in answering questions probing the gray areas that an ethical company must struggle with.
P.S. A recent addition to my review: The Resources section at the back of the book is very well researched and thorough. It would be worth buying the book merely for that appendix.
Through the experiences of real executives and entrepreneurs,
Hollender and Fenichell show that social responsibility is not just a slogan but a way of doing business. The authors are clearly sympathetic to their subjects, but they do not blanch when it comes to controversy and debate. Readers will appreciate their realistic take on the challenge of merging financial success with social commitment in today's global economy. A good read with practical lessons for anyone in business.
Prof. Lynn Sharpe Paine - Harvard Business School
In a readable and optimistic manner, Jeffrey Hollender defines the need for both small businesses and large corporations to practice social responsibility. Then, he takes the next step in offering practical ways to reach this goal.
Nell Newman, Co-founder and President of Newman's Own Organics
This is an important book, not only because Jeffrey describes the shift going on in society making responsible corporate behavior an imperative, but why it is that consumers, employees and non-profits play a critical role in keeping corporations "honest" - this book is a must read, for the business person as well as the consumer - governments will never do this because they are economic governments, businesses will never do this on their own because they are incapable of truth, it is the ethical consumer, the vigilante consumer, that will make this happen. This book is really really relevant.
Anita Roddick - CEO The Body Shop
Our environment is a direct result of how we design our things and how we get them. Without leadership and social responsibility from business, we will fail in our efforts for a better environmental future.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
After surviving a year like 2008, where irresponsible and unaccountable actions by corporations and individuals alike, have left us with a financial nightmare, the message of this... Read morePublished on January 10, 2009 by Rebecca D. Turner
The CEO of Seventh generation, Jeffrey Hollender, pens this book on responsible business. I came across this book because Seventh Generation recently decided to sell their wares... Read morePublished on August 25, 2005 by J. Wellington
I found the book to be uplifting. It is nice to see this type of behavior being practiced. We have entered a time in our existence where we have to start thinking of how we... Read morePublished on June 10, 2005 by Chris Ortiz
As a professor management who is interested in corporations acting more responsibly, I have just begun to use this book in my senior strategic management course. Read morePublished on November 25, 2004 by Dale Fitzgibbons