Thinking for the Future
The Ecology of Commerce: A Declaration of Sustainability
by Paul Hawken (1993)
This book makes a powerful declaration for the role of business in sustainable development and environmental management and protection. Contrary to common belief, industry and ecology need not be at odds with one another (see also Michael Porter Makes the Case).
In fact, industry has the scale and potential expertise for effectively addressing environmental concerns, and as corporations represent the earth’s most prevalent establishments, they have a direct responsibility to do so. The author sets forth a clear series of fundamental problems present within the current system, as well as their corresponding solutions.
Hawken admits that the issues are more profound and complex than his breakdown can attest (see The Sacred Balance), but he provides a clear and cohesive framework from which to work from and adapt.
The book is very well written and easily digestible, and has been a staple to many who have sought to incorporate sustainable change within their organizations. Indeed, I first heard of this book after having watched a TED Talk from Ray Anderson (click to view), founder and chair of Interface, the world’s largest modular carpet manufacturer.
Sadly, Mr. Anderson has since passed away from cancer, but during his life he would continually share with audiences how Hawken’s book had shaped both his life and his company. Continuing his excellent work, Hawken has since published other books and given numerous talks around the world as he inspires new generations of entrepreneurs and business leaders. Pick it up and be enlightened!
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