Mars—Mutuality in Action

According to NYTimes.com, Mars Inc. has offered $23 billion cash for the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co.  Initial reports from The Wall Street Journal indicate that this deal will lead to job creation in Chicago, instead of downsizing.  Wrigley will be its own entity within Mars and will retain its headquarters downtown Chicago.

This news seems to reinforce one of the five Mars in Action corporate principles—Mutuality.  The Mars website has the following description of “mutuality” in action at Mars:

At Mars, mutuality means that every associate has a responsibility to ensure that others also benefit.  Not just Mars itself, but everyone involved – from customers to fellow associates, and from suppliers to the local community.

On the surface, this looks like an example of a large corporate power that understands the principle of sustainability.  It will be interesting to watch this saga unfold and see whether the Chicago community truly benefits from this merger.

If you interested, watch the Mars documentary video—The Five Principles in action.

Notes from chapter 1 of The TBL

The following post is made up of my notes from chapter 1 of The Triple Bottom Line by Andrew Savitz.

Questions that need to be considered by business leaders everywhere (Savitz, 6-7).

  1. Do the responsibilities of a business manager go beyond earning the highest possible profits? If so, what are those responsibilities, and how should they be balanced with the pursuit of profits?
  2. What responsibilities does a company have to its workers, their families, the community where they live, and society at large? Is it enough to pay fair wages, provide competitive benefits, and supply needed goods and services–or should a company do more?
  3. What information should be disclosed about corporate decisions and activities to those who have a stake in them? How should the leaders of a company take into account the viewpoints and concerns of those stakeholders? And who should have a say about the fate of the company?

Lessons from the Chocolate Mess (Savitz, 14-17)

  1. Focusing on profit alone can backfire.
  2. Businesses are accountable to more people than they may realize.
  3. Bad things can happen to good companies that fail to take a broad view of accountability.
  4. Stakeholder engagement is an increasingly critical component of successful management.
  5. Politics is an inescapable part of business.

The first chapter was summed up for me in the following statement (Savitz, 18).

“A sustainable company manages its risks and maximizes its opportunities by identifying key nonfinancial stakeholders and engaging them in matters of mutual interest (emphasis added).