Thanks for the mention—glad you enjoyed the read. I like your choices of Patagonia, Subaru and Chipotle as “Good Corporate Citizens.” I actually mention Patagonia in the book as I think they’re a great example of a company who’s really made sustainability part of their core business model.
As for, as you say, identifying the most responsible actors, and not just those acting poorly: There are already movements to start a universal standard for good corporate behavior—look at the “B Corp” accreditation system for ethical business, for example. But because it takes a long time to build up a good reputation and just one gaffe gone viral to destroy it, the biggest and most impressive displays of consumer activism you see are more likely to involve the take-down of misbehaving corporations than the long-term support of the responsible ones.
The success of companies like the ones you list—or like Unilever, which has redesigned itself around its sustainability values—means consumers are already “voting with their feet”, choosing to support companies that embody the values that matter to them. I agree with you—it is up to consumers to insist on better ethical standards from corporate America. But I don’t think the change is, as you say, a generation away—I think we’re already seeing its effects now.
And on a final note, Kindle version is in the pipeline!
hp blogger Peter Smirniotopoulos on Mar 12, 2012 at 13:16:48
“David, thanks for much for taking the time to read this piece and respond. I think we need more advocates like you speaking to the corporate world about why doing the right thing also makes sense from a profitability perspective. The old adage "doing well by doing good."
Interestingly, I had not yet received my copy of "Who Cares Wins" but had heard, through the grapevine, enough good things about Patagonia that I decided to include them in my research for this piece. Very impressive. I'll also check out Unilever.
I agree that we, as consumers and social media users, spend way too much time trashing corporations for their bad behavior and not nearly enough rewarding the good. Obviously, that was the thrust of this installment of "A Better Form of Capitalism."
Regarding releasing a Kindle version of "Who Cares Wins," as you've divined I did break down and purchase the paperback edition. I'm sure I'll purchase the Kindle version as well, and give the paperback to someone else to enjoy. My son is a sophomore at Virginia Tech, very interested in corporate ethics, and has become a voracious reader. I'm sure he'll enjoy your POV.