About

Hello, and welcome to the Respectful Business blog. If you would describe yourself as a ‘progressive sustainability-minded professional’ then this is particularly aimed at you. This page is to explain why.

Mallen Baker

I came through the world of campaigning but realised that at some point you had to stop saying ‘no’ to what you didn’t want and become clear about what it is that you do want.

I tried politics, but hated the tribalism that says ‘we have all the answers and people on the other side are evil and their supporters deluded or selfish’. It’s no way to look at life. And long term problems will never be solved if the policies introduced by one party will immediately be reversed as soon as the other lot get in.

In early 1990, I started talking to businesses about their environmental impact. A lot didn’t see what it had to do with them, but increasingly I found that – so long as you could talk their language and explain why it was material – there was an open door there to be pushed on.

The breadth of the agenda widened to encompass all those aspects where business can have a positive impact on society. And I have spent the last twenty years pushing on that door.

I’ve seen the rise of the new breed of business executive – people who are success AND sustainability minded

Thirteen of them were spent with Business in the Community, talking with some of the top business leaders in the country about the social responsibility behind their core products and services, and how they could be more ambitious with what they were aiming to achieve.

I’ve written on the topic throughout that time, exploring whatever issues were of interest (and was grateful to the support of BITC to do that when some of that analysis would have made uncomfortable reading for some of its members).

I’ve enjoyed speaking at business events through the world on corporate social responsibility and what it means to be a socially responsible business that also wants to succeed.

Mallen speaking at an event
I've been happy to speak at events across the world on CSR

I’ve had the opportunity to work with some companies in depth. Helping them with their sustainability strategy, and their reporting.

I produce videos to help companies do internal training, or to help them to tell their sustainability story in a more compelling way. I help them to be more powerful in how they engage people on those issues online.

This site has now been redeveloped from 2016 with the realisation this was all very good, but it was very corporate. Very much about what businesses do. But, of course, businesses don’t do anything. People do.

Over those twenty years, I’ve seen the rise of the new breed of business executive – people who are success AND sustainability minded. They’re trying to reflect sustainability in their life and choices, not just their work. And that’s an important part of this whole sustainability thing going mainstream. Something that’s not just for the sort of campaigners in whose number I was to be found in my earliest years.

And, you know what? Over three decades into my adult life, I’m still on that journey as well. Trying to get the balance. Wondering how to recapture the meaningful part of life from the clutches of the purely transactional part.

So I wanted my website to reflect that wider journey. A bit more personal. Rather less corporate. Talking to the same audience – progressive, sustainability-minded professionals – but not just to what they can achieve acting as part of a corporate entity.

But more about what people have been able to achieve in making a difference (see the section on ‘inspirational people). Some things about the choices we make daily about what to consume in our own lives (‘careful choices’). More about the dilemmas we face as sustainability-minded executives in our own workplace (‘good work’), and how we recapture meaning and purpose in our own lives and cope with all the various demands we have upon us (‘meaningful life’).

And, yes, still some analysis of what’s happening in the world of responsible business, and what it means (‘clear reflection’). That last bit will also be the main topic of the weekly podcast (The Respectful Business Podcast) and YouTube videos.

I’m hoping you’ll find some things of value here. See the page on my philosophy for more about what the perspective I bring to all this.

My email address is mallen@mallenbaker.net if you would like to get in touch.