The Business of Less rewrites the book on business and the environment.
For the last thirty years, corporate sustainability was synonymous with the pursuit of âeco-efficiencyâ and âwin-winâ opportunities. The notion of âeco-efficiencyâ gives us the illusion that we can achieve environmental sustainability without having to question the pursuit of never-ending economic growth. The âwin-winâ paradigm is meant to assure us that companies can be protectors of the environment whilst also being profit maximizers. It is abundantly clear that the state of the natural environment has further degraded instead of improved. This book introduces a new paradigm designed to finally reconcile business and the environment. It is called ânet greenâ, which means that in these times of ecological overshoot businesses need to reduce total environmental impact and not just improve the eco-efficiency of their products. The book also introduces and explains the four pollution prevention principles âagainâ, âdifferentâ, âlessâ, and âlabor, not materialsâ. Together, ânet greenâ and the four pollution prevention principles provide a road map, for businesses and for every household, to a world in which human prosperity and a healthy environment are no longer at odds.
The Business of Less is full of anecdotes and examples. This brings its material to life and makes the book not only very accessible, but also hugely applicable for everyone who is worried about the fate of our planet and is looking for answers.
Table of Contents
1. Why Less?
2. A Brief History Of Business And The Environment
3. Itâs Not Easy Being Green When Youâre Color Blind
4. The Problem With Eco-Efficiency
5. Why Win-Win Wonât Work
6. The Business Of Less
10. Labor, Not Materials
11. Net Green For Business
12. Net Green For Households
Roland Geyer is Professor of Industrial Ecology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His work has been covered widely in the media, including worldwide appearances on radio and television shows. Learn more about Roland, his work, and its impact on www.rolandgeyer.com.
"Accessible, incisive and timely. Geyer does away with the myth that âwin-winâ will save us and sets out the foundations for a radical, and yet deeply pragmatic, business strategy for the 21st Century."
Professor Tim Jackson, author of Post Growth and Prosperity without Growth, Director of the Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity
"This engaging book provides a clear and fact-based argument that current approaches to sustainability arenât leading to environmental impact reductions. Although the message is sobering, the principles highlighted can correct our course. This book has arrived at the perfect time. It is the catalyst needed to ensure that, going forward, our sustainability efforts result in actual environmental improvement."
Dr. Elissa Foster, Head of Product Environmental Impact, Patagonia
"Born in the context of the Earth Summit in 1992, the modern corporate sustainability gospel had thirty years to prove itself, and it is abundantly clear that it has failed us. This important book explains why this was inevitable and offers alternative principles that are better equipped to reconcile our economy with planetary boundaries."
Lili Fuhr, Head of International Environmental Policy Division, Heinrich BĂ¶ll Foundation
"Paradigm-shattering. If you've ever wondered why our planet is in flames despite historic concern for the environment, Geyerâs book convincingly locates our problem in the broken logic of âwin-winâ corporate sustainability. The book mercifully maps out a new path forward, too, called net green, that'll transform business and consumption."
Elizabeth L. Cline, author of Overdressed and The Conscious Closet
"Roland Geyerâs book comes at a perilous time in human history. It shows clearly why we urgently need new paradigms for how a market economy should function on an increasingly fragile planet, but goes beyond that to show how we can find a sustainable future. It should be essential reading for anyone concerned for the future of the planet and the people who live on it."
Professor Roland Clift, CBE, FREng, Founding Director of the Centre for Environment and Sustainability, University of Surrey; Past member of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change