The Responsibility Revolution: How the Next Generation of Businesses Will Win

Overview

In The Responsibility Revolution, Jeffrey Hollender, co-founder of Seventh Generation, and Bill Breen, coauthor of The Future of Management, reveal how the smartest companies compete in a world where the marketplace demands that every business build a better future.

Through vigorous reporting and insightful analysis, Hollender and Breen create a road map for building financially, socially, and environmentally sustainable organizations. The Responsibility Revolution brings ...

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Overview

In The Responsibility Revolution, Jeffrey Hollender, co-founder of Seventh Generation, and Bill Breen, coauthor of The Future of Management, reveal how the smartest companies compete in a world where the marketplace demands that every business build a better future.

Through vigorous reporting and insightful analysis, Hollender and Breen create a road map for building financially, socially, and environmentally sustainable organizations. The Responsibility Revolution brings together a potent mix of corporate giants, big brands, and emerging companies—from pioneers in sustainability to those now forging their own path—including Nike, Timberland, eBay, IBM, Marks & Spencer, Patagonia, Novo Nordisk, Organic Valley, Etsy, Linden Lab, and Seventh Generation. Revealing how these top businesses redefine what it means for companies to act responsibly, each chapter offers new models for building the kind of exemplary companies that will thrive in this new era of sustainability.

This is a first-of-its-kind book for leaders, entrepreneurs, managers, and change agents everywhere. Filled with fresh ideas and actionable strategies, The Responsibility Revolution shows how to commit your company to a socially and environmentally responsible business and culture—one that not only competes on values, but wins.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Library Journal
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.
From the Publisher
"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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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780470558423
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 3/15/2010
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 214
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword Perter M. Senge xi

Preface: The Responsibility Revolution: Our Manifesto xv

1 The Responsibility Revolution Takes Off 1

2 The Company Takes on a Mission: "Doing Work That Matters" Matters Now More Than Ever 21

3 Not a Company, But a Community: A Blueprint for Summoning People's Potential 53

4 Make It Transparent: In a See-Through World, It Doesn't Pay to Be Opaque 79

5 Authentically Good: Building the Mission into Every Part of the Business 107

6 The Cooperative Company: Building Profits and Solving Problems Through Mass Collaboration 131

7 Beyond Responsibility: The Case for Corporate Consciousness 159

Epilogue 181

Notes 185

Acknowledgments 201

About the Authors 205

Index 207

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