The Good Company
In THE GOOD COMPANY, Business Professor Robert Girling shares twenty inspiring stories of companies like Clif Bar, Triodos Bank, Eileen Fisher, TOMS Shoes, Google, Kiva that provide a good place to work, heal the world, give back to the community and introduce planet-saving innovations. And here’s the bottom line – GOOD COMPANIES are profitable. More
THE GOOD COMPANY
Robert H. Girling
Fresh out of college, Jeff Mendelsohn was determined to make a difference with his work. Rather than chasing a fortune, he chose to start a business that would make the world a better place. It was the early 1990s and the world was again in recession. Mendelsohn was shocked by the reality facing the poor countries of Central America—and particularly the rampant deforestation of the rainforests. Yet he was also inspired to search for a real solution.
Mendelsohn’s search led him to set his sights on the paper industry, known for its voracious destruction of forests and its pollution of streams and rivers. After graduation, armed with his values and his vision, he got a job with a start-up: New York Recycled Paper. Mendelsohn’s goal was not just to transform the company but to shift the entire paper industry.
Now more than ever the world needs businesses like New Our values and expectations are changing. We need companies that reflect the change in our values and expectations toward corporate behavior and the environment. The good news is that there are a growing number of companies like Mendelsohn’s out there—good companies— working to repair the damage and heal the world.
Why do good companies care—and how do they care—for their communities, employees, and planet? What actions have they taken and what have they accomplished? And what lessons can we learn from them?
In chapter one, I explain why we need a new 21st Century approach to business and I identify some organizations that are leading the movement toward change. In chapter two, I define the “good company” and explain how and why they are more successful than traditional organizations.
In chapters three through nineteen, I tell the stories of companies that excel in taking care of their employees, their communities and the planet. By incorporating these transformative values into their DNA, companies like Vestergaard-Frandsen and TOMS Shoes are helping to eliminate some of the world’s most insidious diseases while Triodos Bank points the way to a progressive financial system that serves and supports communities. Interface Carpets is one such company that has instigated a culture shift by reducing waste, recycling, and reusing scarce natural resources. Companies like INDIGENOUS and Kiva illustrate how innovative business practices can produce change that lifts millions out of poverty.
The concluding chapters 20 and 21 help you ponder—and begin to answer—the two questions: “Where do I start to build a good company?” and “What is being done to create more good companies?”
New Leaf Paper has generated environmental benefits and promoted the company's greater mission by pioneering markets and shifting the behavior of its competitors.
I’ve created each chapter to be self-contained, providing you with insights as well as inspiration. You can read any one of these stories and come away with a certainty that there is hope for the future.
Robert Girling is a Professor in the School of Business and Economics at Sonoma State University. He has taught and consulted with business and governments for over 30 years. He received his Ph. D. from Stanford University.