Summary of Eco-Efficiency

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Their environmental passion is heartfelt, but the authors of Eco-Efficiency: The Business Link to Sustainable Development are no tree huggers. Livio D. DeSimone is chairman and chief executive officer of 3M and Frank Popoff is chairman of Dow Chemical. The co-authors’ status as corporate titans lends credibility to their positions. The planet’s fragile ecology is in danger of being destroyed by its inhabitants and large corporations bear much of the responsibility for saving the environment, they write. This isn’t a screed, though. Rather, it’s a reasoned guide to making your company more profitable and more environmentally friendly at the same time. The "eco" in their favorite buzzword, eco-efficiency, refers to both economics and the ecology. By examining their processes, companies can reduce waste that’s costly financially and ecologically, they argue. Due to its measured, balanced analysis of the relationship between business and the environment, getAbstract strongly recommends this book to all executives and students, especially those who have a real concern for the environment, but find themselves frustrated at the strident tone of many environmentalists.

About the Authors

Livio D. DeSimone is chairman and chief executive officer of 3M. Frank Popoff is chairman of Dow Chemical Co. They collaborated on this book with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, an organization that is an advocate on behalf of business for environmental issues.



Sustainable Development

Many large corporations have begun to address the environmental harm caused by their activities, but much remains to be done. The Rio Earth Summit in 1992 brought these issues to the fore. The role of big business is key. While individual environmentalists might have created the concept of ecologically friendly development, it’s up to corporations to truly save the environment from destruction. Large companies have made considerable progress at reducing pollution and popularizing recycling. But much remains to be done: Industry still engages in practices that lead to global warming, deforestation and the destruction of coral reefs. Deforestation is worrisome, because the reduction of biodiversity leads to the extinction of plant species that could produce life-saving drugs.

To save the environment, corporations must embrace the concept of eco-efficiency. This means using both ecological and economic resources in less wasteful ways. This is important, because in many cases an ecologically harmful process also is a financially costly one. The concept of eco-efficiency is driven by the goal of sustainable development, or using resources in a way...

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