In Review :: Branded!

Book review of Michael Conroy's 'Branded! - How the 'Certification Revolution' is Transforming Global Corporations.'

by Michael E. Conroy

New Society Publishers, 2007, 334 pages, $19.95

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How do you introduce sustainability into a powerful, well-established industry? That's a question I was pondering in 1994 as I watched forest communities torn apart by wars between timber companies and environmentalists.

At the time, I was working at the Ford Foundation, and the newly formed nonprofit Forest Stewardship Council caught my attention. The Council planned to certify sustainable forestry practices, thereby providing consumers with the tools to choose sustainably harvested wood. It seemed to me a powerful idea, and I got deeply involved in making this idea into a reality.

The forestry story is just one of the successes Michael Conroy recounts in Branded! He tells how fish, apparel, coffee, gold, and tourism are all sectors where the certification revolution is taking hold—with more to come.

Conroy draws on his insider knowledge from his work at both the Ford Foundation and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund to tell of campaigns that force brand-conscious corporations to become more socially and environmentally responsible. In reading this book, you'll find yourself cheering the people who use the marketplace to confront these giant corporations—and win.

Certification cannot solve all the devastating impacts of the global economy, but Conroy's well-researched account shows it to be a valuable tool in building a just and sustainable world.

Fran Korten wrote this review as part of Liberate Your Space, the Winter 2008 issue of YES! Magazine. Fran is Executive Director of the Positive Futures Network, publishers of YES! Magazine. Photo of Fran Korten