Do Good: Embracing Brand Citizenship to Fuel Both Purpose and Profit, by Anne Bahr Thompson ISBN 9780814438398
Five out of five stars
The behavior of corporations falls along a spectrum anchored on the ends by those driven only by the numbers for the current or next quarter on one end and by companies that factor in the overall role they play in society on the other. This book concentrates on the organizations that fall on the end of accepting social responsibility.
The most impressive point made in the book is on page 31, a famous quote of economist Milton Friedman. Hard-core believers in capitalist free markets regularly cite the opening of the quote, “In a free enterprise, private-property system, a corporate executive is an employee of the owners of the business. He has direct responsibility to his employers. That responsibility is to conduct the business in accordance with their desires, which generally will be to make as much money as possible . . .”
What is almost universally left off is the last segment of the quote, which is extremely important.
“ … while conforming to the basic rules of the society, both those embodied in law and those embodied in ethical custom.”
The focus of this book is the rise of the new style of companies that take the last part of that quote extremely seriously, in many cases altering the basic rules of society as well as creating new ethical customs. This is done by citing and developing a series of case studies of companies that incorporate putting the welfare of their employees on equal footing with providing a quality product at a good price and being environmentally conscious to the point where lowered profits are accepted.
The emphasis is that in many cases being socially responsible does lead to a higher profit number in the ledger. More and more citizens are altering their buying habits as well as their employment choices to reward companies that are socially and environmentally conscious. There is no greater example of this than when American President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the Paris Climate Accords. The leaders of many U. S. corporations quickly announced that they would continue to comply with the guidelines and reduce their environmental impact.
The word is now out and in a big way, doing good is good business, and ample justification for that statement is found in this book.