The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Bob Keener, 617-610-6766,

New Report: High-road Business Practices Benefit Businesses and Society

Need Public Policy to Spread Adoption.


A set of generous employment practices helps companies' bottom lines and delivers significant benefits to society. Those are the counter-intuitive findings of a new report being released today by the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC), which has a member network representing 250,000 businesses. The report, The High-road Workplace, Route to a Sustainable Economy, also makes the case that barriers to adoption need to be overcome with public policy to broaden the societal benefits.

"Most companies succeed or fail because of their employees, but today we see many companies stuck thinking of labor as merely a cost item to be reduced as much as possible," said David Levine, CEO and Co-founder of ASBC. "We call that approach 'low-road,' and it can be profitable, but it takes a big toll on society. One extreme example is minimum-wage employees who need food stamps and other public assistance just to survive. But there are many less obvious ways that low-road practices hurt public health, reduce consumer demand and stress our social safety nets.

"In contrast, our report shows how high-road practices help employees deliver higher quality products and services, increased innovation and other tangible benefits. This makes them profitable both for companies that adopt them and for the larger society," he said.

"But we also found significant barriers to adoption. If we wait for the market to spread these practices on its own, it will be many decades before they become the norm and all Americans can reap the rewards. So, we also researched how government can help companies overcome barriers and speed their adoption of high-road practices," Levine said.

The report, based on interviews with companies that offer such employee benefits, is designed to help business leaders understand the strong business case for adopting high-road business practices. It also shows how these practices deliver benefits beyond a company's walls, to the wider economy and society in general. Finally, it explores strategies policymakers could use to hasten the adoption of such practices, and thereby speed the spread of their benefits to all Americans.

Key Findings:

  • High-road employment practices are profitable
  • High-road employment practices also deliver significant benefits to society
  • Barriers to adoption are delaying the organic, market-driven spread of such practices
  • Public policy in the form of regulations and incentives would help speed the adoption of high-road practices

The report, The High-road Workplace, Route to a Sustainable Economy, may be found here: The report was supported by funding from the Surdna Foundation.

The American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) advocates for policy change and informs business owners, policymakers and the public about the need and opportunities for building a vibrant, broadly prosperous, sustainable economy. Founded in 2009, its membership represents over 250,000 businesses in a wide range of industries.

(202) 660-1455