The CSR Newsletters are a freely-available resource generated as a dynamic complement to the textbook, Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility: Sustainable Value Creation.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Strategic CSR - Ecocide

The article in the url below profiles an idea being advanced by the clothes designer/environmental activist, Vivienne Westwood—the concept of Ecocide:
 
“That ecocide – the destruction of ecosystems – is even a concept bespeaks a momentous change in industrial civilisation’s relationship to the planet. To kill something, like Earth, presupposes that it is even alive in the first place. Today we are beginning to see the planet and all its subsystems as beings deserving of life, and no longer mere resource piles and waste dumps. As the realisation grows that we are part of an interdependent, living planet, concepts such as ‘rights of nature’ and ‘law of ecocide’ will become common sense.”
 
The goal is to “enshrine the sanctity of the biosphere in law.” Doing so, however, would involve a level of sacrifice it is not clear we are yet ready for:
 
“The unvarnished truth that environmentalists might not like to admit is that a law of ecocide would hurt the economy as we know it, which depends on an ever-growing volume of goods and services, increased consumption so demand can keep pace with rising productivity at full employment. Today, that requires stripping more and more minerals, timber, fish, oil, gas, and so on from the Earth, with the inevitable loss of habitats, species, and ultimately the health and viability of the entire biosphere.”
 
The result being advocated is a fundamental reform of society as we know it:
 
“Every facet of modern life contributes to ecocide; we should expect, then, that every aspect of life will change in the post-ecocidal era. It is more accurate to say that, instead of hurting the economy, a law of ecocide would transform the economy. It is part of a transition to an economy with less throwaway stuff, and more things made with great care, more bikes and fewer cars, more gardens and fewer supermarkets, more leisure and less production, more recycling and fewer landfills, more sharing and less owning.”
 
There are not many good examples of firms paving the way for such a radical reform. The article did remind me, however, of a quote from The Corporation documentary by the late Ray Anderson of Interface Carpets:
 
“Can any product be made sustainably? … One day early in this journey it dawned on me that the way I had been running Interface is the way of the plunderer, plundering something that is not mine; something that belongs to every creature on earth. And I said to myself, my goodness, the day must come when this is illegal, when plundering is not allowed [and] … people like me will end up in jail. The largest institution on earth, the wealthiest, most powerful, the most pervasive, the most influential, is the institution of business and industry—the corporation, which also is the current present day instrument of destruction. It must change.”
 
Take care
David
 
David Chandler & Bill Werther
 
Instructor Teaching and Student Study Site: http://www.sagepub.com/chandler3e/
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The library of CSR Newsletters are archived at: http://strategiccsr-sage.blogspot.com/
 
 
Vivienne Westwood is right: We need a law against ecocide
By Charles Eisenstein
January 16, 2014
The Guardian