Companies on a Mission: Entrepreneurial Strategies for Growing Sustainably, Responsibly, and Profitably

Companies on a Mission: Entrepreneurial Strategies for Growing Sustainably, Responsibly, and Profitably

Companies on a Mission: Entrepreneurial Strategies for Growing Sustainably, Responsibly, and Profitably

Companies on a Mission: Entrepreneurial Strategies for Growing Sustainably, Responsibly, and Profitably

Synopsis

"Let your social and environmental conscience be your guide" can be a successful and durable strategy for a firm. This is the first book to explain how following a vision for the earth and for society can be a powerful route to profits for small and medium sized companies.

Companies on a Mission explains that mission-driven companies appreciate and leverage traditional strategic principles- with a twist- to win in the marketplace. By clearly and pragmatically laying out this argument, author Michael V. Russo crystallizes for enlightened businesses what Michael Porter made clear for mainstream firms years ago. The book shows that a mission-driven approach creates significant barriers to imitation by larger, established rivals. Mission-driven firms build their brands on authenticity. Only you are you. And, authenticity builds customer loyalty. Later in the book, Russo moves beyond the firm level to look at these companies in context. He finds, for instance, that just as specific industries often develop in geographic clusters, mission-driven companies also aggregate. But, they put down roots where other businesses are pursuing complementary goals. Portland and the Bay Area are two such hotbeds. This allows for cooperation, as opposed to breeding stiff competition.

The rise to prominence of mission-driven companies like Patagonia, Seventh Generation, Kettle Foods, and Calvert Group is undoubtedly the result of powerful trends in consumer markets, including the rise of conscious consumerism, the transparency movement, and fallout from global competition. Most books that address social and environmental issues are focused on large corporations, crafted as autobiographies by CEOs, or written as moral calls to action without regard for the bottom line. Companies on a Mission both chronicles a movement and provides grounded guidance to entrepreneurs and managers who wish to join the wave. For these readers, this book is a one-of-a-kind bible.

Excerpt

Companies on a Mission is a long-awaited book, badly needed and destined to become a classic in shaping how people think of the role of business in meeting the challenges of this new century. It will be required reading for all of my business students.

All who dabble in big ideas owe debts to prior thinkers. As one who is credited with putting forth some of the principles for the field of sustainable management, for arguing that behaving in ways that are more responsible to people and to the planet is actually a better way to do business, I owe many. Dr. Donella Meadows, lead author on the book Limits to Growth, was the first to use the word sustainability. Partnerships created my various books. The team with whom I continue to cocreate Natural Capitalism Solutions brings joy to my professional life.

All of us in this field are immensely enriched by colleagues around the world. One of the first, however, to suggest to me that doing business honorably in a time of planetary crisis could actually be more profitable was Mike Russo, the author of the volume you now hold.

Several decades ago, Mike suggested that the anecdotal examples we'd found of companies that prospered by using resources more productively and of companies that attracted the best talent because they treated their . . .

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