The Responsible Business

Reimagining Sustainability and Success

Carol Sanford

Jossey-Bass, February 2011

The Responsible Business offers a new and strategic approach to doing business that holistically integrates responsibility into all aspects of an organization, allowing for returns at every level, business and social. This book goes beyond the often well-intentioned but limited attempts at sustainability to present a framework that allows organizations to bring responsibility into everything they do and re-imagine success. From innovation, product development and production processes to business management, strategic planning and shareholder development, the author shows how being a Responsible Business is a practical skill that can be applied day-to-day at every level of the business.

No longer just the role of a department or the job of CSR professionals, successful responsibility and business efforts start at the business level, are then taken to the corporate level and are finally applied throughout the organization. The Responsible Business outlines a framework for building a responsibility and consciousness infrastructure that applies a living systems view to the business and inspires all of its stakeholders, including shareholders.

Throughout the book, illustrated by examples from technology to manufacturing, large and small, public and private, Sanford demonstrates how to make responsibility integral to all aspects of a business as an engine for innovation, profitability and purpose.

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About the Author

Carol Sanford believes that we all want to create a better world, and that business can and will play a major role in accomplishing that. “It will be more than just a responsibility program,” she says. “Responsibility will be HOW everything is done, in the DNA so to speak, of the business and everyone will participate to make a real difference.” Working the way she lays out in her books can, and has, changed the course of history. The books of filled with case stories, many of women, who have done just that.

To that end, Sanford has been leading major consulting change efforts in both Fortune 500 and new-economy businesses for more than 35 years. Her client list includes long-term relationships with Colgate Europe and Africa and DuPont Canada, US, Asia and Europe. She also works with new-economy companies like Intel, Agilent and leaders of corporate responsibility such as Seventh Generation.Google uses her Responsible Business framework in an Innovation Lab.

Sanford is CEO of Carol Sanford Institute, a consultative education company on building Regenerative Businesses that become non-displaceable in their markets, enduringly. The Carol Sanford Institute is based in the Seattle region of the Puget Sound.

She combines her economic development experience with her extensive business education and background using consultative education and learning practices.

Sanford has published dozens of works in 10 languages, including a series of articles in Executive Excellence, Stephen Covey’s newsletter and At Work, a Berrett-Koehler Journal. She is the author of The Responsible Business: Reimagining Sustainability and Success.

Central to Sanford’s philosophy and approach is a fresh look at what makes an organization truly responsible. “It’s important to discovery your singularity, what enables you to differentiate your business from the crowd,” she says, “and then thinking about how to do business so that communities, societies, and ecology as a whole are improved. These are not separate but interwoven pursuits. It’s completely doable, and a conversation worth having.”

She holds undergraduate degrees from UC Berkeley in Economics and Public Law and graduate degree from California State University, San Jose in Urban Planning. She currently lives in Seattle.