The primary goal of a company may be to make money but some companies nowadays also recognise that they have a responsibility towards the society in which they operate.

Read the text and then do the exercises.

Case study – James Carston, Fine Shirtmakers

Set up in the 1920s by James Carston, a Manchester tailor, the company has remained in the family and is now run by James’s grandson, Paul Carston.  Employing fewer than 50 people, the company has a reputation for producing high-quality men’s shirts, which it sells by mail order, and has a loyal customer base.  As Paul Carston says, ‘Once someone has tried our shirts, they tend to come back for more.  Our customers appreciate the attention to detail and the high-quality fabric we use.’  And it’s the fabric they now use that makes the company almost unique in the world of men’s shirt manufacturers.

When Paul Carston took over running the company in 1999, he inherited a business that prided itself on using local well-paid machinists rather than sweatshop labour, and looked upon its employees as members of an extended family.  Paul, a committed environmentalist, felt that the company fitted in well with his values.  The shirts were made from 100 per cent cotton, and as Paul says, ‘It’s a completely natural fibre, so you would think it was environmentally sound’.  Then Paul read a magazine article about Fair Trade and cotton producers.  He was devastated to read that the cotton industry is a major source of pollution, and that the synthetic fertilisers used to produce cotton are finding their way into the food chain.

Paul takes up the story.  ‘I investigated our suppliers, and sure enough found that they were producing cotton on an industrial scale using massive amounts of chemicals.  Then I looked into organic cotton suppliers, and found an organisation of Indian farmers who worked together to produce organic cotton on a Fair Trade basis.  Organic cotton is considerably more expensive than conventionally produced cotton, so I did the sums. I discovered that if we were prepared to take a cut in profits, we would only need to add a couple of pounds to the price of each shirt to cover the extra costs.  The big risk, of course, was whether our customers would pay extra for organic cotton.’

Paul did some research into the ethical clothing market and discovered that although there were several companies producing casual clothing such as T-shirts in organic cotton, there was a gap in the market for smart men’s shirts.  He decided to take the plunge and switch entirely to organic cotton.  He wrote to all his customers explaining the reasons for the change, and at the same time the company set up a website so they could sell the shirts on the internet.  The response was encouraging.  Although they lost some of their regular customers, they gained a whole customer base looking for formal shirts made from organic cotton, and the company is going from strength to strength.

Language level

Intermediate: B1
Upper intermediate: B2


DearThe LearnEnglish Team,
Thanking you in advance for your services and supports
I have a question about this sentence "the company has remained in the family and is now run by James’s grandson.
why "is" was used in this part "and in now"
Is the structure or meaning wrong without that?

Hello Farhad,

The sentence is correct. There are some words omitted (ellipsis) for stylistic reasons:

The company has remained in the family and (the company) is now run by James’s grandson.


The sentence would not be correct without 'is now run'.



The LearnEnglish Team

Hi there.

Why "is now run" and not "is now running" or "now runs" without "is" ?

Stelios D.

Hello Stelios,

'is now run' is a passive verb ('is run'). The subject is 'the company'. The active version of this would be 'the family now runs the company'. Does that make sense?

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Yes thank you very much for your response. I understand now. (run-ran-run)

Hello The LearnEnglish Team,

Thanks for your excellent work. This article is very helpful for students to do business English study. Regarding this article, I have one question here. Could you please help to confirm my undestanding of two phrasal verbs below?
1. In "looked upon its employees as members of an extended family.", does "look upon" mean see or treat?
2. In "Paul takes up the story. ", "take up" means resume, continue?

Best regards,

Hello Kaofeng,

'Look upon someone as' has a similar meaning to 'regard someone as'. It describes your view or opinion of someone.

'Take up' means to continue after someone else was telling the story initially.



The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks, Peter. Your explanations are very helpful to me.

Hi I am Tho, I am from Viet Nam, I want to improve my English for my works. I Would like to communicate with you in English so that it can help us both in learning English. I look forward to hearing from you

Hello teachers .
thanks for those information ( I like them too much ) .

But please can I know the most basics things to make a big company ?
because I have a project like that with my friends .