HELD IN TRUST: the Scott Bader Commonwealth

At the BMI recently it was a pleasure to meet Fiona Joseph from Acocks Green, who wrote BEATRICE The Cadbury Heiress Who Gave Away Her Fortune (2012) and Comforts For The Troops (2015). I wanted to hear more about her forthcoming book, focussing on the life and work of Godric Bader.

I first met Godric –  a Northampton Friend – at Charney Manor in 1998. A later highlight was a visit to the company’s headquarters and Godric’s ad hoc hand account of thoughtful ethical/environmental decisions as we strolled round the grounds – and a reassurance about the nature of the chemicals used.

The title of Fiona’s book will be HELD IN TRUST: The Life of Godric Bader and the Scott Bader Commonwealth. It will describe the lifelong struggle of a socially-responsible CEO to defeat harmful capitalist practices and transform the business world into a fairer, peaceful and more just environment.

Part social history, part business primer, HELD IN TRUST will also be a manifesto for the ‘Common Trusteeship’ model, a bold alternative to unethical business practices which, all too often, place shareholder values over true social responsibility to the people and the planet.

Until 1951, Scott Bader Ltd was a traditional family-owned chemical company, specialising in polymers for plastics and paints, and competing ruthlessly against its rivals like Bakelite. But Godric Bader’s father Ernest decided the capitalist model of industry promoted greed and selfishness and set about transferring the ownership of Scott Bader to the workforce so the company could be run collectively as a Commonwealth (wealth-in-common).

Shortly afterwards Godric Bader was appointed as MD and Chairman of this new experiment in industrial democracy. So began his struggle to transform Scott Bader into a viable, profitable company, whilst trying to defeat the forces that threatened to undermine the values and vision of the Scott Bader Commonwealth. Keeping the flame alive for future generations was never easy but Godric Bader has somehow managed it.

HELD IN TRUST is the frank and compelling account of this lifelong battle

Key features of the book

  1. Explains why the formation of the Scott Bader Commonwealth would not have happened without the Second World War.
  2. Highs and lows from a turbulent life spanning 92 years including: – an unusual childhood brought up by convention-defying parents – how being a WW2 Conscientious Objector (conchie) in theQuaker Friends Ambulance Unit (FAU) led to the first of two nervous breakdowns – surviving cancer and two near-death experiences
  3. The inside story on how Scott Bader was almost brought to its knees by a company strike, management defection, and two serious financial recessions.
  4. How Godric Bader’s peace activism and commitment to the principles of Quakerism and Gandhian non-violence put him at odds with the corporate world, but led ultimately to recognition with the Gandhi Foundation Peace Award in 2014.

“For me, there are no heroes in business – other than Scott Bader”. Anita Roddick, late founder of The Body Shop

“Godric Bader has clung with barnacle tenacity to the notion that one can be fair, moral, widely informed and behave with propriety – and still be successful – in the frequently ruthless groves of big business.” John Swinfield, former Business Columnist Evening Standard.






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One Response to “HELD IN TRUST: the Scott Bader Commonwealth”

  1. Scott Bader Commonwealth: pay ratios and the living wage | Some Quakers Says:

    […] letter in the Friend (below, 4.1.18) recalls a couple of entries on this website: a general article which visitors to the website – the vast majority from the United States – might wish to […]

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