WHAT MATTERS MOST: Business, Social Responsibility, and the End of the Era of Greed

Jeffrey Hollender, Author, Stephen Fenichell, Author . Basic $26 (336p) ISBN 978-0-7382-0902-9

The corporate scandals of recent years have underscored the growing emphasis on responsibility and accountability, and even the world's largest businesses have been heeding the call. Hollender (with writing and research assistance from professional business scribe Fenichell) checks in with Nike, McDonald's, Starbucks and other companies to see what they're doing about altering their products and processes to fit with sustainability, which values environmental impact as much as consumer satisfaction. Hollender's tenure as head of Seventh Generation, manufacturers of ecologically safe home-cleaning products, ensures his credibility on corporate social responsibility issues, though some readers might wish for more behind-the-scenes stories about grappling with those issues on a daily basis. He's also good friends with the founders of Ben and Jerry's and the organic yogurt makers Stonyfield Farm, both initially small companies that have been acquired by international food conglomerates. Will the smaller companies' values be subsumed by the bottom line or infect their new owners with progressive ideas? Hollender appears to favor "inclusive globalization," but he takes care to devote as much attention to those who would prefer a more radical outcome—crippling the giants and bolstering smaller, local economies. And he's sharply critical of both sides: McDonald's may have a long way to go, he points out, but is it really fair to attack their unhealthy menus while giving Ben and Jerry's a free pass to make fattening ice cream? This honest assessment of the difficulties corporations large and small face in fostering social change adds a welcome tone of moderate optimism to the globalization debate. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 01/12/2004
Release date: 12/01/2003
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FORMATS
Paperback - 326 pages - 978-0-465-03086-6
Open Ebook - 392 pages - 978-0-7867-3734-5
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