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The Quest for Sustainable Business: An Epic Journey in Search of Corporate Responsibility by Wayne Visser

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In January 2010, author, academic and social entrepreneur Dr Wayne Visser set off on a nine-month, 20-country "quest" to talk to entrepreneurs, business leaders and innovators and learn about how companies in all parts of the world can and are helping to tackle the world's most pressing social and environmental problems. His aim was to explore the many varieties of global approaches to sustainable business practices first-hand and to share some of the most innovative global examples.The result is this treasure trove of a book, full of stories, ideas, links to more than 100 video interviews, best practices and tools for making sustainable business work in a myriad of different contexts, cultures and settings. Besides sharing insights from his 2010 "CSR Quest World Tour", the author captures his professional experiences and the evolution of sustainable business over the past 20 years.The path begins in Africa and winds its way through Asia, North America, Europe, Australasia and Latin America. The author shares what he has learned in encounters with mega-corporations and small farmers, and conversations with CEOs and social entrepreneurs. There are facts and figures about world trends, and interviews with thought leaders and activists. This is a tale that consciously weaves the personal and the professional, mixing anecdotes and case studies. It looks outwards and reflects inwards, and is both autobiography and the life story of a global movement.

This book is a journey of two kinds. First, it is an autobiography of Dr. Wayne Visser, one of the world's top 100 thought leaders in Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility, and a Top 100 Global Sustainability Leader. Second, the book presents the recent evolution of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) or as Dr. Visser's coined the term - Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility. The Quest for Sustainable Business takes the reader on a voyage from the African continent to Europe, then to Asia Pacific and the Americas with the final destination in the United Kingdom. Incidentally, this route reflects the life journey of the author, who was born in Zimbabwe and spent his childhood in South Africa, and who now lives in London, UK. With the CSR concept much promulgated in Western society, the book can be a surprising discovery of CSR undertakings in the developing world. For example, the book highlights a number of market and government initiatives in Kenya, Nigeria, China and India. Nevertheless, it is somewhat disappointing that the author does not elaborate on the state of CSR in Russia - a country with world's largest energy resources and forest reserves. The book can be valuable to anyone who is interested in the diverse and contested concept of CSR and its development in different parts of the world. As the reader discovers along the journey, drivers for CSR range from economic, political, social, cultural and even geographical characteristics. The latter becomes apparent when comparing the Netherlands and Australia. How does this happen? Perhaps it would be better to let the reader find out what a difference can be made by the immediate need for a remedy and how this can transform the identity of a nation. Review by Karina Yadav, CSR International

About the Author
DR WAYNE VISSER is Founder and Director of the think-tank CSR International and research company Kaleidoscope Futures. He is the author of 15 books and over 180 publications, and has delivered more than 170 professional speeches in over 50 countries.


Stories, ideas, links to video interviews, best practices and tools for making sustainable business work in a myriad of different contexts, cultures and settings. "The Quest for Sustainable Business is two things: the most important and, in certain respects the only, historical account of corporate responsibility to date, and a bloody good read." - Ethical Performance

The Quest for Sustainable Business is two things: the most important and, in certain respects the only, historical account of corporate responsibility to date, and a bloody good read. Visser's project is much-needed. CSR has long existed in a historical vacuum that has too often led to a vacuity of ambition and statement. The Quest for Sustainable Business, with a comprehensive historical sweep taking us from apartheid South Africa to the EU's Enterprise 2020 initiative, puts us back in the picture. Despite its unnecessarily transcendental title, the book is rigorously grounded in the material realities that have shaped CSR since the 1980s, and robust in its comparisons of different approaches for promoting corporate responsibility, always keeping the particular historical conditions in mind. Visser provides a crucial lesson in self-knowledge: that CSR has not always been as it is today, and that what we now accept as truisms in the industry were once hotly debated and treated quite differently. In sum: the CSR world has been one of change. The Quest for Sustainable Business is a short book, and one that mainly impresses with the ease in which it switches from one context to another at pace, allowing the reader to keep its various strands in mind. The book negotiates the difficult tension between historicising and making relevant for today, and between abstract argumentation and real-life, day-to-day business. Its lessons for the latter, as the CSR world enters another period of fluidity and upheaval, may prove invaluable. - Ethical Performance, July 2012 - Ben Hickman

Book Information
ISBN 9781906093761
Author Wayne Visser
Format Paperback
Page Count 264
Imprint Greenleaf Publishing
Publisher Taylor & Francis Ltd
Weight(grams) 385g


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