Business on a Mission is a simple to follow guide for how organisations can adapt to the changing world and evolving expectations of stakeholders to build more purpose-led, sustainable businesses. It features proven models and case study examples of how to create a brand that talks to the emerging Gen Z consumer base; how to use social missions to drive sales in retail and with B2B customers; how to preserve reputation and licence to operate by working in partnership with not-for-profit organisations; and how to attract and retain the best talent by demonstrating a genuine social purpose.
As well as clear, applicable models and behind-the-scenes descriptions of how successful campaigns were built and sustainable change made, this book features candid interviews with change makers from the worlds of retail, professional services, consumer goods, and NGOs. This second edition looks at how businesses and brands like Dove are now linking social and environmental goals, with an exclusive interview with Unilever CEO, Alan Jope. It explores how investors are now driving a systemic change in focus in the boardroom towards the sustainability agenda, and how leaders can respond to this, featuring a new interview with Frank Cooper, Global Chief Marketing Officer and member of the Global Executive Committee at BlackRock. The impact of the pandemic on what it means to be a sustainable brand, including a focus on sustainable supply chains, the growing power of Gen Z, the growth of online purchasing, multi-stakeholder partnerships, increased regulation, and culture at work, is also explored.
This book has been read, enjoyed, and used by business leaders to identify models for change; by managers to create progressive campaigns; by NGOs to create stronger partnerships with the private sector; and by students to learn how theories of social purpose and sustainability can be applied in the real world. The first edition was Bronze winner of the AXIOM Business Book Award in the category of Philanthropy, Non-Profit, Sustainability.
Table of Contents
- From West Kirby to Kibera and back again – the historical context
- Diverging Agendas and the Age of Transparency
- How Sustainable Brands are Winning on Wall Street
- The Commercial Benefits of a Social Mission
- What Makes a Good Social Mission?
- How to Build a Sustainable Brand
- Communications as a Change Driver
- Strange Bedfellows – the power of partnerships
- The Year Everything Changed
- The Future
Andy Last co-founded salt in 2000 and led the development of the company’s Social Mission approach to create sustainable, progressive campaigns for brands and businesses. He has worked since 2006 on Lifebuoy soap’s award-winning social mission, described as the “best social program ever” by David Aaker, Professor Emeritus at the Haas School of Business. He led salt to be in the first group of UK companies to be accredited as a B-Corporation in 2015 and is now a B-Corp Ambassador as well as a member of the Medinge Group, the brands with a conscience think tank.
Praise for the second edition:
"I profoundly reject the idea that there has to be a trade-off between doing business responsibly and good financial outcomes. The reverse is true. Indeed, Andy’s book shows how purpose done properly unlocks superior performance. As such, it’s a must-read for any brand or business." – Alan Jope, CEO, Unilever
"The purpose of a corporation has never been more important than it is today. And Andy’s latest update to Business on a Mission does a terrific job of explaining both how and why this is so. Combining case studies and proven models with personal anecdotes, the book is a must-read for anyone interested in the larger purpose of business in society – highly recommend!" – Michael Roth, Executive Chairman, Interpublic Group (IPG)
Praise for the first edition:
"This book is a timely reminder that the primary purpose of business has always been to serve a clear social need. The message is brilliantly combined with a well-illustrated roadmap of how we can get back to that essential objective." – Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever 2009–2019
"In Business on a Mission, Andy Last describes how business can develop to deliver to a purpose that serves society. Companies who are able to do this are magnets for employees who we recognise as increasingly concerned to find meaning in their work. He describes, too, how NGOs and business can work together for good, with clarity about motive being vital for partnerships to work. Together, business and NGOs can make a bigger difference in the world than either can achieve alone." – Dame Barbara Stocking, President, Murray Edwards College, University of Cambridge, and former CEO, Oxfam
"Business on a Mission is a great book for managers who are looking for the first steps in how to build a sustainable brand for their business. It is jargon-free, clear and includes interviews with prominent business people who have successfully built sustainable brands." – KoAnn Skrzyniarz, Founder and CEO of Sustainable Life Media and Sustainable Brands
"Business on a Mission could not be more timely. Forces like technological disruption and shifting demographics continue to drive constant change and we’re seeing the polarisation of the population play out in front of our eyes. Beyond our organisations, in the communities in which we operate, many people feel disenfranchised and disconnected. Business on a Mission and Last’s collection of interviews demonstrate that organisations have a role to play to ensure we are enhancing people’s lives and they must be an important part of the solution. At a time when we need to be responsive and responsible, these practical, readable steps will be welcomed by business leaders across countries and industries." – Jonas Prising, CEO and Chairman, ManpowerGroup
"Andy Last has been at the forefront of the revolution in the ‘Social Mission’ for industry – the realisation that doing good is, quite simply, good business. In this inspiring and highly readable book, Last shows us how companies that have social benefit in their DNA outperform those that don’t, how European companies have a much bigger social vision than North American ones, how mission drives brand and employee loyalty, and how brands on a mission outlast those that don’t. He provides wise advice not just on the ‘why,’ but also on the ‘how’ of finding and delivering on your company’s social purpose. This book is required reading, not just for people working in industry, but for all people who aspire to change the world for the better." – Professor Val Curtis, Director, Environmental Health Group, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
"Business on a Mission makes the business case for why commercial organisations should embrace sustainability and aspire to a higher purpose. More than that, it shows how they can form better partnerships with NGOs to make this happen. Andy’s story is well told, engaging and a must-read for anyone interested in making business better." – Marc Van Ameringen, Executive Director, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) 2005–2016
"From 2005 to 2011, I had the privilege to drive one of the biggest transformations in corporate strategy to integrate social, economic and environmental insights into the innovation agenda of all categories and brands at Unilever. We called this innovation model the ‘Brand Imprint.’ We knew that the care that we put into the community and environment are intrinsically connected with the power of those brands to engage people not only as consumers, but also as citizens and brand advocates. Andy and Richard, founders of salt, were key partners in that process. This book will help many other businesses leverage the power of brands to create a better future. We all need to find new, more sustainable ways of living, and brand innovation will play a pivotal role in that agenda." – Santiago Gowland, CEO, Rainforest Alliance
"Andy Last is a seasoned professional in the sustainability space and his book, Business on a Mission, cuts through the purpose fluff and offers practical advice for any company that wants to walk the talk." – Thomas Kolster, Mr Goodvertising, author and sustainability thought-leader