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New Book by Corporate Responsibility Pioneer Shows Why Doing Good Is Good For Business

Submitted by: Seventh Generation

Categories: Community Development

Posted: Feb 02, 2004 – 11:00 PM EST


"Jeffrey Hollender is intent on doing the socially responsible thing."--Newsday

CSRwire note: to read an excerpt from What Matters Most, click here

Feb. 02 /CSRwire/ - It was once thought that business' sole responsibility was to maximize profits for shareholders. But according to corporate leader Jeffrey Hollender, business also has an obligation to provide workable solutions to the daunting challenges facing the planet. "Corporate social responsibility must become a critical part of every company's core competence and strategy," asserts Hollender. In his new book, WHAT MATTERS MOST: How a Small Group of Pioneers Is Teaching Social Responsibility to Big Business, and Why Big Business Is Listening - written with Stephen Fenichell - he argues further that introducing social responsibility into day-to-day business operations is an effective way of creating long-term sustainable growth and improved financial performance.

Hollender is President and CEO of Seventh Generation, the nation's leading brand of non-toxic and environmentally safe household products. Over the past sixteen years, this pioneering company has become an industry leader while remaining committed to a set of principles and behavioral guidelines - demonstrating that corporate social responsibility is a viable, vital, and sustainable business strategy. In WHAT MATTERS MOST, Hollender draws from his own experience at the helm of Seventh Generation and as one of the leaders of the Corporate Social Responsibility movement, as well as on extensive research and interviews with leaders at non-governmental organizations and business enterprises alike. He explores what corporate social responsibility entails and how well known companies such as Johnson & Johnson, McDonald's, Nike, Royal Dutch Shell, and Starbucks have dealt with the many challenges it presents.

"Instituting a value system that places appropriate emphasis on accounting for social externalities - pollution, environmental degradation and resource consumption, health effects of the workplace environment on workers, the need to create a work environment that fulfills the needs of its employees, and sustainability in all its myriad forms - is no longer a luxury, a sideshow, or a public relations exercise," Hollender explains.

By looking in detail at how real companies have dealt with crises - from the protests and boycott resulting from Shell's decision to dispose of an oil storage tanker in the North Sea, to shareholder resolutions calling on Intel to share information about environmental health and safety not only with employees, customers, and the government, but also with the community at large, to a quality control problem in a newly formulated dishwashing liquid at Seventh Generation - WHAT MATTERS MOST demonstrates the complexity of corporate social responsibility. At the same time, it shows how these issues can be addressed successfully.

Hollender spells out how business leaders can assess how their own organizations are doing in an era when public expectations of responsible corporate conduct have shifted and expanded dramatically. He discusses how and why to partner with non-governmental organizations, how to honestly communicate with stakeholders including employees, consumers, suppliers, shareholders, and the community at large, and how to embark on a path to long-term growth. Moreover, WHAT MATTERS MOST offers a fascinating look at the rise of the social responsibility movement and the changing role of the corporation in society.

"Embarking on a course of corporate social responsibility is a complex, messy, and conflicted process," writes Hollender. With WHAT MATTERS MOST as a guide, businesses can begin to understand these complexities and move into a more sustainable, and more profitable, future.

WHAT MATTERS MOST How a Small Group of Pioneers Is Teaching Social Responsibility to Big Business, and Why Big Business Is Listening
By Jeffrey Hollender and Stephen Fenichell Publisher: Basic Books Publication Date: February 2004 Price: $26.00/hardcover // ISBN: 0-7382-0902-3

For more information, please contact:

Andrea J. Stein Jane Wesman Public Relations
Phone: +1-(212) 620-4080
Gregor Barnum Seventh Generation
Phone: +1-(802) 496-6065


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