Summary of Eco-Business

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McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, General Electric, Nestlé, Nike and other top companies now pursue high-profile environmental initiatives to save money and to save the planet. Surprisingly, today Fortune 500 firms set the bar for sustainability, and governments and nongovernmental organizations follow their lead. In 2011, as the holiday shopping season opened, outdoor-clothing company Patagonia sponsored a full-page New York Times ad headlined: “Don’t Buy This Jacket.” The ad said, “To lighten our environmental footprint, everyone needs to consume less.” That is only one example that researchers Peter Dauvergne and Jane Lister unearth as they detail the corporate sustainability push and show how big companies sometimes use their muscle for good. Their one flaw is repetition; the same points appear in every chapter. Still, getAbstract recommends their insights to businesspeople seeking to emulate the visionary activities of top firms, participants in the global supply chain, and people who want to mitigate environmental degradation and to know where to shop.

About the Authors

Peter Dauvergne is professor of political science and director of the Liu Institute for Global Issues at the University of British Columbia. Sustainability governance scholar Jane Lister is a senior research fellow at the Liu Institute.



“Corporate Social Responsibility”

Sustainability is the new corporate watchword. Its champions include Nestlé, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Walmart, GE and Nike. Sustainability calls for renewable energy and sustainable sourcing, and it advocates cutting waste, reducing deforestation and limiting the use of toxins. Nike’s corporate responsibility report explains, “We’re integrating sustainability principles and practices into everything we do.” This is true for many big-brand companies worldwide. Their first priority is the sustainability of their business; that enables them to make the environment their second priority in ways that genuinely make a difference. This practice is called “ecobusiness,” defined as the transformation of sustainability into a mechanism for corporate growth and control. A company that practices ecobusiness effectively earns both profits and positive publicity as an exemplar of corporate social responsibility (CSR), and it helps the Earth.

Sustaining Business

Ecobusiness seeks to advance business, reduce costs, increase profit margins, improve quality, boost sales, expand markets, and create and sustain a more competitive organization. Ecobusiness...

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