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Business on a Mission

How to Build a Sustainable Brand

This easy-to-read and engaging book is the perfect introduction to how to build a sustainable brand for your organization. Intended as a roadmap that can be readily applied by busy managers and practitioners, the book includes interviews with business leaders, including Paul Polman of Unilever, Adam Elman of Marks & Spencer, and Jonas Prising of ManpowerGroup to provide insight into best practice and clear guidance for implementation. Throughout, the book avoids jargon and theorizing to ensure readability.

Business on a Mission is based on more than a decade working with some of the first businesses to develop social missions and shows the foundations behind their success. It looks at how businesses can profit from working hand in hand with society and identifies a model for success. The book demonstrates how businesses can go from hiding behind “social shields” to picking up “social swords” and presents the six criteria to look for in assessing a social mission.  It also focuses on how good communications can build trust and bring about positive change; and it provides clear ways to engage employees and improve productivity as well as “rules” for communicating social missions externally.

This optimistic book explains the benefits of partnerships in the sustainable development agenda, particularly between businesses and NGOs. The book features guidelines for avoiding dysfunctional partnerships, and presents interviews with Marc Van Ameringen, Executive Director of GAIN (Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition) 2005 to 2016, and Myriam Sidibe, Social Mission Director for Africa, Unilever, on how things can be managed to the benefit of both partners.

A timely reminder that the primary purpose of business has always been to serve a clear social need, brilliantly combined here with a well-illustrated roadmap of how we can get back to that essential objective.

Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever

An essential handbook for the purposeful marketer: engaging, practical, and packed with inspiring examples to light the way.

Will Gardner, CEO, Collectively

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 polarization of the population play out in front of our eyes.  Beyond our organizations, in the communities in which we operate, many people feel disenfranchised and disconnected. Business on a Mission and Last’s collection of interviews demonstrates that organizations 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)

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, SVP Estee Lauder Companies Inc, Global Corporate Innovation

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

Chapter 1 - From West Kirby to Kibera

Chapter 2 - Diverging agendas and the Age of Transparency

Chapter 3 - The commercial benefits of a social mission

Chapter 4 - What makes a good social mission?

Chapter 5 - How to build a sustainable brand

Chapter 6 - Communications as a change driver

Chapter 7 - Strange bedfellows

Chapter 8 - The future

ANDY LAST advises brands and corporates on social purpose and sustainability communications and is a regular speaker and commentator on the power of business to lead positive change. He co-founded salt in 2000.

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