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Taking the high road

CEO Jeffrey Hollender preaches the gospel of corporate social responsibility

Jeffrey Hollender
  • Jeffrey Hollender

What matters most? According to Jeffrey Hollender, CEO and president of Vermont-based natural and recycled household cleaning products manufacturer Seventh Generation, what matters most in business is corporate responsibility, transparency and accountability.

If these sound like buzzwords behind which CEOs can hide, fear not. Hollender has taken many circuitous routes to end up at Seventh Generation and argues that in today's business climate, the media and the consumer are watching like hawks, and corporations are smart to be upfront about their practices in this country and abroad.

In 1989, Hollender raised $850,000 to purchase a floundering catalog of water and energy conservation products. Eventually that venture turned into Seventh Generation, now a $25 million manufacturer and distributor of nontoxic cleaning products and recycled household paper products, including non-chlorine bleached disposable diapers.

Recently, Hollender's book was released: What Matters Most: How a Small Group of Pioneers is Teaching Social Responsibility to Big Business, and Why Big Business is Listening. The book received a Readers Choice Award from Fast Company magazine. In it, Hollender outlines ideas on how to measure progress, how to fine tune processes, how to communicate progress to stakeholders and how to integrate values and belief systems into large businesses from partners to employees to customers.

He'll discuss these topics at a luncheon sponsored by Colorado Springs Utilities and Seventh Generation, today at The Warehouse restaurant. The event is being presented by the Pikes Peak Sustainable Business Network, a program of the Catamount Institute, dedicated to "enhancing the human, environmental, and economic performance of the Pikes Peak region."

-- Kathryn Eastburn

capsule Jeffrey Hollender on What Matters Most

Thursday, April 29, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

The Warehouse, 25 W. Cimarron

Presented by the Pikes Peak Sustainable Business Network

For more on PPSBN, call the Catamount Institute, 719/471-0910 or visit www.catamountin

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