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February 18, 2014

A Lunch BIT from Eco-Business by Peter Dauvergne and Jane Lister

Posted by: Susan Mai

What’s behind the high-profile efforts of large corporations to embrace sustainable policies? Why are these big-brand companies making zero-waste and sustainable-packaging promises? Why do they seem to be accelerating their efforts? Is this merely crafty marketing? Are they using feel-good rhetoric to placate governments, activists, and consumers?

In “The Politics of ‘Big Brand Sustainability’” Peter Dauvergne and Jane Lister offer an incisive investigative critique of these seemingly eco-friendly practices, and find that the corporations aren’t nearly as altruistic as they seem. Altruism, in fact, isn’t the point at all, as a reviewer for Times Higher Education pointed out:

“The objective…is to efficiently control supply chains to navigate the globalised world economy with the main aim of increasing consumption. This is the overarching theme of this book, told in very precise detail in six chapters that consider the politics, production, marketing, supply chain, management of resources and governance of big business in the eco- market…[W]e are left with the question of whether the gains from eco- business are worth the losses. The authors do recognise the opportunities to leverage eco-business to provide greater societal and ecological good, but at the end of the day, one is reminded that he who sups with the devil needs a long spoon.”

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