For many years Ben & Jerry's has donated 7.5 percent of its annual pretax profits to charitable causes -- the highest percentage of any publicly-held company. Yet the company has become an even more powerful agent for social change by embracing a "values-led" business philosophy. Values-led business is based on the idea that business, which has become the most powerful force in society, has to accept responsibility for the welfare of that society and the people in it. Values-led business is more encompassing and therefore more effective than philosophy alone. It also seeks to maximize its impact by integrating socially beneficial actions into as many of its day-to-day activities as possible from raw materials to retailing. In order to do that, values must guide a company's mission statement, strategy and operating plan.
Ben and Jerry write: "When we first decided to open an ice cream parlor, our goals were pretty modest. With this book we admit to having greater aspirations. We're hoping that reading it will free up a lot of people to do what their hearts and souls have been aching to do -- integrate social values into their daily business activities. If you're a business person reading this book, we hope to demonstrate that there's an alternative to the status quo. We hope you'll see that it's possible to run a business in a way that proactively supports society, and that as you integrate your values more and more, you'll be just as profitable., if not more so. If you're a shareholder, an employee, or a customer, we hope to convince you to bring those values to your interactions with business. We hope to help you to become aware that there's adifferent, more caring way for business to be -- and as employees, customers, and shareholders, to demand that business be that way."
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