Jeffrey Hollender on Toyota

13782289-566x849The Toyota Corolla, a highly popular car in the U.S. (Jupiter Images photo)

I’m into corporate responsibility in case you haven’t noticed. (I was recently approached by someone wanting me to join a pyramid scheme. It was so laughable I wrote a satire piece about it. I’ll let you know when it’s published.)

One of the biggest proponents of this is Jeffrey Hollender, the CEO of the cleaning-products company Seventh Generation.

I looked into his recent blog posts because I noticed something about Toyota’s CEO in the Seventh Generation newsletter. Hollender, referencing a New York Times article, said it’s about time leaders of a corporation really owned up to their mistakes instead of denying blatant facts and blameshifting, like GM often does. (Ever seen Who Killed the Electric Car? It’s free at that link.)

I would have written about the Times article even if Hollender hadn’t. Listen to this heart-wrenching portion of it, when Toyota’s CEO apologizes for a recall after a crash:

The accident, which Mr. Toyoda called “extremely regrettable,” apparently occurred when the accelerator got jammed by a floor mat.

“Four precious lives have been lost. I offer my deepest condolences,” Mr. Toyoda said. “Customers bought our cars because they thought they were the safest. But now we have given them cause for grave concern. I can’t begin to express my remorse.”

Good job Toyota. And good job, Hollender, for giving credit where credit is due. I knew I had always liked him, and I knew he was serious in acting from his ideas about corporate responsibility…

(Wal-Mart has asked him for advice on many occasions, and he gives it, but never gives in when they ask him to allow distribution of Seventh Generation in Wal-Mart stores. He still denies them the privilege because he thinks they’re yet too irresponsible. He and his company could make countless millions off such a deal.)

What I didn’t fully realize was that, like me, Hollender seems to think mediocre effort toward worthwhile goals is almost worse than no effort at all.

To be continued tomorrow…

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