New books


The Civil Corporation

The New Economy of Corporate Citizenship

Simon Zadek, Debra Street og Sara Arber

Earthscan Publications London, 2001 240 s. ISBN 1853838136

The role of business in society is this century’s most important and contentious public interest issue – a core concern of governments, international and non-governmental organizations, citizens and, increasingly, business leaders themselves.

In The Civil Corporation, Simon Zadek explores how far we should expect corporations to improve their social and environmental performance, and how best to realize this potential. Adopting his usual stance of ‘optimistic scepticism’, he argues that corporate citizenship is an outcome of the dynamics of the New Economy, as is the role of NGOs as civil regulators. Looking to the future, he provocatively suggests that the new civil governance will be rooted in a web of local, national and global private–public partnerships.

For this future to meet the challenge of sustainable development, The Civil Corporation argues that the global business community will have to undergo radical change – innovating to evolve its cultures, competencies and, ultimately, its purpose. This challenge is explored through a practical examination of its key building blocks – negotiated boundaries of accountability, measurement, dialogue, and the institutional mechanisms for building trust.

Building on knowledge and insight gained from a decade of working with business, public institutions,and NGOs, Simon Zadek has produced a thoroughly practical, yet thought-provoking, book that will provide a benchmark for those working to ensure that business becomes part of the solution in addressing the challenge of sustainable development.


1 Can Corporations Be Civil?

Part 1 The New Economy of Corporate Citizenship
2 Opening Minds
3 Ethical Futures
4 Breaking the Trust Barrier
5 Civil Regulation
6 Framing the Business Case
7 The Future of the Civil Regulators
8 The New Civil Governance

Part 2 The Civil Corporation
9 Foundations of Sustainability
10 Sustainability as the Art of the Possible
11 Civil Learning

Part 3 Building the Civil Corporation
12 Building Civil Corporations
13 How Much is Enough?
14 Useful Measures
15 Conversational Corporations
16 Professionalizing Credibility

Part 4 Conclusions
17 How Civil Can Corporations Be?