What Matters Most: How a Small Group of Pioneers Is Teaching Social Responsibility to Big Business, and Why Big Business Is L

If you want your business to thrive, you’d better start paying attention to its values. Jeffrey Hollender, CEO of Seventh Generation, a brand of environmentally safe household products, and Stephen Fenichell, a professional writer, see harbingers for change in the way some companies do business. Religious and business leaders embroiled in scandal, networked global awareness, and an expectation of transparency that embeds reporters with soldiers are all elements causing a fundamental change in the way the public views the world, they believe. By sharing mistakes, encouragement, and even regrets, the authors document stories of businesses that have been at the forefront of developments in corporate social responsibility. Well-written and researched, these accounts come from companies we all know–Shell Oil and Intel are featured in the chapter on “Risk and Reputation,” Starbucks and Chiquita Banana in “Accountability,” and Ben & Jerry’s and Nike in “Transparency.” In a chapter on ownership, we get to see which corporate giant owns which socially responsible start-up. What are the implications for the little guy (and the duped consumer!) when Boca-Burger is owned by Kraft, Nantucket Nectars by Cadbury, and Odwalla by Coca-Cola? Reading this book may help you look at how your company affects the world, be honest about your shortcomings, and start talking about how to change. [HBS Working Knowledge Annotation]

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