Still on the Road

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I'm still away from home at the kick-off meeting of the Alliance for Research on Corporate Sustainability (ARCS). The meeting venue is in the brand new, Leeds-certified quarters of the Ross School of Business at UMich. The pleasure of seeing my former students emerge as leaders in this emergent community is hard to describe. I guess the most important sign of success for a teacher is to see one's students excel. As I wrote a couple of days ago, the ARCS group is striving to establish sustainability ever more deeply in the curricula and research activities in schools of business.

My time to post today is quite limited so I will finish with a book review just published on the web. The book is Capitalism as if the World Matters, by Jonathon Porritt, adviser to the UK Prime Minister. Although described as a new book, it was published in 2007, but the message is, if anything, even more apropos today. Here are a few excerpts from the review. Echoing the theme in Break Through, the more recent critique of environmentalism by Nordhaus and Schellenberger, Porritt says:

. . . the first step towards implementing change is to alter the approach to conventional environmentalism. To win people over and get them on board, he suggests focusing on the positive. “Change will not come by threatening people with yet more ecological doom and gloom,” says Porritt. “The necessary changes have to be seen as good for people, their health and their quality of life - and not just good for future generations.”

The review concludes with a very positive assessment of the book, but finishes with a reference to the threat, contradicting Porritt's earlier statement.

“Capitalism as if the World Matters” offers real-world solutions to the ‘destruction of the world’ problems that our global society faces. Porritt has put his experience to work, outlining frameworks for sustainable capitalism and pointing to the initiatives some governments and businesses are already beginning to follow. As Porritt so adroitly points out, unless conventional environmentalism throws its weight behind this type of progressive political agenda, the planet will continue to face steep decline.

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