Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Will Big Business Save the Earth?

Jared Diamond contributed a top-notch op-ed piece in this past Saturday's NY Times, sharing stories of his experiences watching businesses learn to appreciate the benefits of sustainability:

The embrace of environmental concerns by chief executives has accelerated recently for several reasons. Lower consumption of environmental resources saves money in the short run. Maintaining sustainable resource levels and not polluting saves money in the long run. And a clean image — one attained by, say, avoiding oil spills and other environmental disasters — reduces criticism from employees, consumers and government.

What’s my evidence for this? Here are a few examples involving three corporations — Wal-Mart, Coca-Cola and Chevron — that many critics of business love to hate, in my opinion, unjustly.

After detailing stories about what each of these three corporate behemoths is doing to reduce its ecological footprint, Diamond poses the question, "why do such policies face resistance from some businesses and many politicians?"

The objections, he says, often take the form of one-liners.

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