Review: Walking the Talk

Corporate social responsibility can pay big dividends.

WALKING THE TALK
The Business Case for Sustainable Development
Charles O. Holliday, Jr., Stephan Schmidheiny, and Philip Watts
288 pages (Berrett-Koehler, 2002)

In one of the first books about sustainable business practices written by business leaders for business leaders, Holliday, Schmidheiny, and Watts – chairmen at DuPont, Anova Holding AG, and Royal Dutch/Shell Group of Companies, respectively – argue that fostering environmental and social responsibilities while tending to the bottom line is anything but a zero-sum game. In fact, as vital as sustainability is to the societies in which business operates, so it is ultimately to business itself. The authors argue that globalization and corporate social responsibility can feed into each other with a win-win outcome. To be sure, the industrialists do not advocate unqualified altruism. Rather, they stress that industries would do best to work closely with governments and others to solve environmental and social problems through market-based solutions like emissions credits and trading, for example.

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