I just love interviewing the people who farm and ranch and provide all of us with food that is good, affordable, safe, and more than ever, sustainable. I have a bit of a beef with the headline (I don’t create them.) It makes Cassidy seem defensive. I see her as proud and speaking honestly about the journey of sustainable beef.
My publisher created a short two minute video to help promote my book. I like it. They asked me to narrate. I was nervous about it, because they had a Brit narrate as an example, and he completed the script in 1 min and 45 seconds. My best in practicing it was 2 min. 15 seconds. I always knew I spoke more slowly than most, but this was startling to me nonetheless. I think I got it down to just over 2 minutes. Give it a look. The Battle To Do Good animated video.
It’s is gratifying to see that my book is resonating with readers. I just read another book review from Corporate Citizenship. Thank you Mike Tuffrey for your review. I particularly liked this section:
“Top learnings for me from this compelling account are the crucial role that NGOs and campaigners play in spurring action, the vital importance of allies in the business to unlock internal barriers and – often understated – the personal character and tenacity of the chief sustainability officer (note the three Ps).”
I just had an in-depth interview with Joshua Spodek on his “Leadership and Environment” Podcast. It’s an hour long! I particularly enjoyed his serious question toward the end about what is transformative change. We may disagree. I couldn’t quite tell. For example, I said McDonald’s advocating and moving toward sustainable beef is awesome, a big undertaking, and transformative. I am sure there are those who argue McDonald’s shouldn’t serve beef, and that would be the better transformation. What do you think? The same with McDonald’s making the the Happy Meal healthier by adding fruit/yogurt, smaller fries, and soda no longer a default. Others would say that is incremental: why not go organic, or veggie only?
In the interview, I talk about sustainability nirvana as a negative force. Most companies are not going to change overnight to a state of perfection (which varies in the eyes of each stakeholder anyway). I say, why not embrace small and big changes along the way?
Joshua, thanks for drawing out from me my best thinking and challenging me on many topics!
I am so thrilled that my daughter wrote a very uplifting note about my book on Facebook. I copied it below. Having Laura know more about what I did makes my book even more special to me. And she liked it! She also did a review on GoodReads. Thanks so much, Laura.
Many already know, but my dad Bob Langert wrote a book, and I am SO, incredibly proud of him! It’s a book about the work he did at McDonald’s heading up their Corporate Social Responsibility group. I knew a lot of the work he did from what he would tell us at our family dinners and such, but reading his book made me have such a deeper appreciation for what he was doing back then, and the impact he made “battling” everyday to do good for the world!! If anyone is interested in the topic at all, I HIGHLY recommend reading it. (I will happily buy/send anyone a book – just DM me). It’s worth the read, I promise! If not, I will let you know when his TED talk is for you to listen in the coming months (for real!!)
|This book review is from Dr. Simon Shane, who disseminates weekly news via Chick-News and Egg-News. Dr. Shane, thanks for your review, especially that last part where you say,”The Battle to Do Good should be standard reading material for any manager in the food industry or any aspirant executive pursuing a business degree or those with a career aspiration in any company where welfare, sustainability and public perception are involved. book.”
REVIEW – The Battle to Do Good – The Business Journey of Bob Langert
Bob Langert spent 25 years following an innovative and productive career at McDonald’s Corp., retiring in 2015. When he joined the company it suffered from sensory deprivation. Management was blinded by its market share, international reach and market capitalization. Executives concerned with “millions served” were also tone-deaf to emerging consumer concerns including sustainability and welfare.
In 1988 Langert was introduced to the emerging concern over polystyrene clamshell packaging used by McDonald’s for sandwiches. He was given the unenviable task of reversing sclerotic reasoning among decision makers in the company who were guided by practicality and profit. Fortunately he had sympathetic mentors and well oriented superiors. They accepted his ideas and recognized his deep-seated desire to do the right thing for consumers, suppliers the environment and his company. After the polystyrene clamshell sandwich-packing situation was resolved, Langert was assigned other responsibilities bearing on the supply chain that directly influenced public perception of the company.
McDonald’s suffered a pyrrhic victory in 1990 when it injudiciously prosecuted a case for libel vigorously defended by London Greenpeace. The trial afforded the defense an opportunity to publicize perceived inadequacies in welfare, nutritional content of menus and alleged exploitation of labor. The outstanding revelations that garnered considerable publicity related to flock and herd welfare. The trial at the Old Bailey in London was a classic case of “don’t mud wrestle a pig-you both get dirty and the pig enjoys it!” Subsequent to the trial Langert was tasked with developing a company policy and program on livestock welfare in the supply chain. He consulted with available specialists and organized an advisory panel representing the first application of a now accepted system of standards and audit.
Langert recognized the need to effect improvements by working within his organization. The passion emerging in his writing was reflected in persistence and patience, selecting problems with potential solutions and responding in a constructive way. One of the outstanding lessons in The Battle to Do Good is the need to be proactive in recognizing a potential problem and to address and resolve an issue before it emerges as a public relations crisis.
Early in his involvement in promoting welfare Langert recognized the need to develop a dialog with antagonists. He established a functional working relationship with animal rights organizations both with respect to caged hens and gestation crates for sows. His cooperation with the Environmental Defense Fund injected into the culture of McDonald’s the reality that promoting a good environment is ultimately beneficial for business.
The Battle to Do Good can be read on two levels, the first is the narrative of a responsible executive promoting somewhat novel concept to staid executives. The second aspect of The Battle to Do Good is a business text comprising a series of case studies on aspects of sustainability, public relations, and societal responsibility.
I have had the pleasure of meeting with Bob and briefly working with him and have attended his presentations on numerous occasions. His book reflects a unique philosophy based on a sincere desire to simultaneously improve company image and profitability through consumer-friendly policies.
The Battle to Do Good should be standard reading material for any manager in the food industry or any aspirant executive pursuing a business degree or those with a career aspiration in any company where welfare, sustainability and public perception are involved.