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In the Company of Partners: Business, environmental groups and sustainable development post-Rio

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Abstract

The overall purpose of the book is to provide the reader with an introduction to business–environmental group partnerships, including an analysis of how and why they have emerged, and their wider significance for business and the green movement in northern, industrialised societies.
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... While there appears to be general consensus on the impossibility of arriving at a concrete universal definition of partnership, useful efforts have been made to distinguish partnerships from looser collaborative forms such as networks and coalitions [26,27,42,54,55]. Another helpful distinction has been made between statutory or mandated partnerships required by legislation for a specific purpose and more voluntary partnerships among organizations working together for a common strategic purpose [56]. ...
... Although the terms are widely used interchangeably [57], Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) in which public sector agencies contract businesses to provide services or build infrastructure have also been differentiated from more flexible, often non-contractual Multi-Stakeholder Partnerships (MSPs) [42]. In addition, it has been noted that cross-sector partnerships such as those involving companies and NGOs cover a wide spectrum from sponsorship and cause-related marketing activities through to much more strategic collaboration on sustainability, policy development and implementation [26,27,29,58]. ...
... Because of the enormous range of forms and shapes that partnerships take, the quest to develop a comprehensive typology of partnerships is a challenging one [49]. Some examples of the diverse typologies that have been put forward include the three types of collaboration identified in the pioneering work of Murphy and Bendell [26] on business-NGO partnerships: ...
Article
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Partnerships are positioned as critical for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and the United Nations transformational agenda for 2030. The widespread use of terms such as ‘collaboration’, ‘partnership’ and ‘cooperation’ has, however, led to debates about the expectations of such relationships and calls have been made for more rigorous clarification and classification of these related concepts. Drawing upon a comprehensive literature review, we argue in this conceptual paper that the broad spectrum of personal and organizational interactions within, between and across different sectors, domains, disciplines and contexts makes the quest to delineate and categorize these diverse forms of collaboration a seemingly impossible task. We further suggest that such efforts advance a narrow view of partnership as little more than a means to an end, thus limiting understanding of the integrative and intrinsic value of working in this way. We believe that a more inclusive understanding of partnerships may be achieved by exploring them through a relationship lens that acknowledges the importance of inter-personal connections in partnerships more deeply. In doing so, the capacity of partnerships to generate the systemic change that is at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development may be enhanced and ultimately realized.
... Are companies taking voluntary action or responding to an emerging organic "civil regulatory" environment? Are there areas for alliance building between the civil society actors of developed and developing countries that are critical for strengthening civil regulation of the corporate sector (Murphy and Bendell 1997;Zadek 2001)? How far can civil regulation take us, and what will be its relation to the public sector? ...
... They are in fact responding to an organic "civil regulatory environment". Civil regulation of Northern TNCs, as discussed by Murphy and Bendell (1997) and Zadek (2001), has, in the main, been driven by civil society organizations based in the North. 86 Over the last decade, the cumulative effects of civil action have been to create a civil regulatory environment that increasingly covers codes of conduct, commitments to transparency, and corporate governance. ...
Technical Report
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Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is on the rise all over the world, and India is no exception. The history of corporate paternalism has played an important part in shaping community expectations and CSR practices in India. Civil society, consumers and other actors have increased the pressure on companies to adhere to social and environmental standards, and this new “civil regulatory” environment has had impacts on business in India. This paper considers corporate environmental and social behaviour in India, both in the past and the present, in an attempt to better understand the actual impact of CSR. The paper is divided into five broad sections with the first section setting forth the issues in context. Section 2 covers the historical aspects of the business and society interface in India from the middle of the nineteenth century up to the present, and it determines the actors and the factors that have influenced the corporate responsibility discourse. Section 3 then presents the state of contemporary CSR in India, by detailing perceptions of the issue, and the initiatives undertaken by selected companies, industries, industry associations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and trade unions. It includes a discussion on certain codes of conduct related to labour and environmental issues. Section 4 discusses the drivers of corporate social and environmental responsibility in India, using a case study of the garment sector. Voluntary initiatives are examined in light of the macro changes unfolding in the Indian economy and society since the early 1990s, particularly by examining the characteristics of the labour market and the impact of labour, environmental and other regulations on business and society. This section also documents corporate management and governance practices. The last section contains a brief discussion on issues beyond voluntarism and judicial activism. Philanthropy has been important in India since the middle of the nineteenth century, largely due to a strong heritage of community influence and paternalism among traders-turnedentrepreneurs. At the same time, the larger economic governance framework that was put in place by the state also influenced corporate practices toward labour and society from time to time. The Indian government’s socialistic policy agenda, which aimed at a more equitable distribution of resources, restricted the concentration of wealth to the hands of a few industrialists through strategies of import substitution, foreign exchange control, reservations for and protection of small-scale enterprises, industrial licence, and quota systems for raw material and production. This influenced business practices of the times. However, business was often reluctant to abide by such principles. As a result, interest in corporate philanthropy decreased, leading to an increase in corporate malpractice, and manoeuvring for survival and profits. All this was facilitated by incidents of corruption in state and national government bureaucracies. However, certain self-enlightened businessmen practiced and advocated ethical and responsible business behaviour, and issues of the social responsibility of business and stakeholder engagement were debated in India as early as the 1960s. In fact, there is evidence available of businesses going far beyond compliance and setting best-practice standards in labour relations and community development even before India’s independence in 1947. Some such best practices later became the basis for drafting related legislation after independence. Despite the existence of trade unions, the trade union movement was not very effective in advocating for the rights of workers beyond issues related to wages and could not, therefore, contribute much to the larger corporate responsibility debate. To some extent, this shortcoming was offset by the emergence of other civil society actors in the form of NGOs and communitybased organizations from the 1970s. However, NGO activism in the early phase was limited by government policies to the role of service delivery agents; it was only in the 1990s, when this role broadened, that NGOs started to have greater effect. However, they tended to influence state policies rather than confronting business head-on. Consumer boycotts, popular in the Western economies, have also been rare in the Indian context. v The response to corporate responsibility pressures in India has occurred mostly in export-led sectors and where the business is part of a global supply chain. The important issue of homebased workers was not addressed by international instruments for a long time and this, coupled with the lack of both the will and capability for monitoring, meant that businesses could exploit vulnerable groups of workers. Manufacturers catering to local markets did not experience the same demands and pressures to practise corporate social and environmental responsibility. Therefore, the locally developed certification and labelling schemes failed to attract the attention of local business. Since the mid-1990s, CSR has been practised and debated by businesses, industry associations, NGOs and the government. However, there is still progress to be made. CSR is not institutionalized as a part of business practice; instead it is more of a “social good” left to the discretion of chief executive officers or top management. The agenda does not yet engage with CSR in terms of workers’ rights. Employee care is often left to employer benevolence. And while environmental care and total quality management have been driven by international competition as well as by legislation in India, compliance and enforcement are slack. The nature of corporate actions and market-friendly regulations in India suggests that increased private sector participation in social and environmental affairs will need more vigilance from the government, not less. More importantly, we will need more democracy, not less, to create the space for various actors to operate and provide support and resistance, as required. The government will have to be re-engineered so that its regulation and monitoring role can be strengthened. In other words, it will need countervailing power outside the governmentindustry nexus. This requires democratic rights and institutions that can defend or advocate these rights, from courts to civil society institutions. The challenge, therefore, is to continue to build a vibrant set of civil institutions capable of feeding the corporate community and their markets with signals of success that orient companies toward social and environmental “goods”, and away from the “bads”.
... the growing popular mood in the 1970s to prevention pollution, measures to encourage selfregulation and decentralise national economies and promote free market policies in the 1980s, and a concern to incorporate sustainability into business practices in the 1990s (Murphy & Bendell, 1997). ...
Thesis
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Abstract This thesis addresses a research gap in the areas of managerial perception and practice of sustainable development (hereafter SD) in the context of the Australian building and construction industry. The management literature has highlighted the importance of more in-depth inquiries into industry-specific contexts to advance management knowledge and contribute to academic theory (Barnett, 2007; Costa & Menichini, 2013). Over the last decade industry practice for a sustainable built environment has increased managers’ skills and capabilities. This occurred on predominantly individual project or business basis rather than as industry wide approach. With the increasing economic, environmental and social impact of building and construction activities that are globally evident, there is now a growing need for this sector to develop a deeper understanding of sustainable development perceptions and practices (Chang et al., 2018; Pearce, 2008; Revell & Blackburn, 2007). The academic literature offers theoretical constructs that resonate with the culture of the building and construction industry, as well as knowledge and skills transfer from research to industry practice. This research applies stakeholder management theory as the primary theoretical lens, with a consideration of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainable development (SD) frameworks. These support the investigation of the research questions: How is sustainable development understood and perceived by managers in the construction industry? How are stakeholder relationships developed and managed in the construction industry? How do construction industry-specific contexts shape sustainable development management? Utilising a qualitative methodology with a case study design, this study collected and analysed data from in-depth interviews with twenty seven business directors, project managers and site managers across three small and medium-sized Australian construction businesses. The iterative and reflective qualitative data analysis identified five key themes, which connect the perceptions and practices of all managers interviewed across a management life-cycle spectrum not identified before. This research found that construction managers have distinct SD values, which are expressed through their own experiences and expertise engaging with diverse stakeholders to deliver project outcomes. These perceptions and practices, whilst individually constructed over time and with experience, are grounded in common industry values and include a clear concern for the long-term sustainability and futures of their stakeholder communities locally and the construction industry professionally. This qualitative and in-depth research analysis – which has not been undertaken in the Australian construction sector before- was able to capture the shift that has taken place from the traditional linear stakeholder management models based around the entity of the firm to the multi-dimensional stakeholder relationship networks actively facilitated by managers in industry practice. The thesis asserts that these findings have critical implications for advancing stakeholder management theory and sustainable development in industry-specific contexts. In addition, these findings offer a practice-focused contribution to the construction industry and propose increased educational emphasis on: firstly, making SD management more explicit; and secondly, supporting managers in their knowledge and skills development to navigate the complex contexts of their professional roles.
... In recent years, however, an increasing number of NGOs has entered into comprehensive partnership arrangements with MNCs. Assuming that both actor groups can achieve more when working together, it has been argued that such partnerships open up new perspectives and produce innovative solutions to common problems [28,29]. However, studies have demonstrated that arrangements between NGOs and MNCs are prone to weaken the credibility, autonomy and agency of the non-profit sector [30,31]. ...
Article
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Supply chain sustainability has become a key issue for multinational corporations (MNCs). Hundreds of MNCs in agri-commodity sectors have recently committed to eliminate deforestation from their supply chains. In this article, we examine the power of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) participating in two initiatives that support the implementation of such commitments: the Accountability Framework initiative (AFi) and Transparency for Sustainable Economies (Trase). Drawing on document and literature research, participant observation as well as semi-structured interviews, we find that these NGOs exercise power with MNCs, in particular in terms of raising awareness and changing corporate self-perceptions. At the same time, though, there is a bias towards representing the positions and interests of materially strong actors in global supply chains. In doing so, NGOs risk reinforcing MNCs’ power over more marginalized actors. In this light, we argue that initiatives such as AFi and Trase can only be a first step towards a new economic system that respects ecological limits and delivers social justice. In order to shape transformative change, NGOs need to more actively push discussions about equitable distribution, emancipation and justice in natural resource governance.
... Another perspective in many respects similar to the stakeholder approach is actually that of sustainable development. The term 'sustainable development' gained currency in the 1970s in relation to Maurice Strong's efforts to link the international environment and development concerns following the UN Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm in 1972, which he headed (Schmidheiny, 1992;Murphy and Bendell, 1997). The UN's World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) defined sustainable development as " development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs… It contains two key concepts… the essential needs of the world's poor … should be given overriding priority; and the idea of[This assertion may be borne out by looking at some large companies highlighted in the BCSD's book, namely Royal Dutch/Shell, Dow Chemical, Du Pont, Norsk Hydro, ALCOA, Aracruz, Asea Brown Boveri, and Mitsubishi, among others, as successful case studies in sustainable development (Schmidheiny, 1992). ...
Thesis
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This thesis examines Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects of twenty-two large corporations operating in Brazil. Its specific focus is on the way in which the perceptions of CSR professionals inform and shape their company´s CSR policies, programs and governance structures. My approach is founded on the claim that we need to elaborate positive conceptions of CSR, in terms of business people's attitudes and business responsibilities towards less well-off members of society, as well as the more current negative definitions, centring on the omission of wrongdoing. My methods of data collection and analysis are qualitative, using semi-structured interviews with 22 CSR managers as the means of eliciting professionals' suppositions concerning businesses' responsibility for the hunger, illiteracy and general wellbeing of various stakeholder groups. Through this highly contextual attention to the specificities of corporate perception and of different community needs in Brazil, I attempt to move away from an unhelpfully generalised and prescriptive approach to corporate social provision. My argument is that although responsible corporate responses to social need will always be rooted in real situations, it is still possible to offer orienting CSR guidelines to managers through combining empirical data with a broadly universalistic evaluative framework. Although corporate representatives say they have a commitment to fight social inequality and to tackle social problems, the CSR processes do not necessarily follow those statements. An adapted model of Amartya Sen's Instrumental Freedoms (IFs) is proposed for CSR actions addressing poverty and social inequality. Once this IFs for CSR model is applied to the data, two cases from a total of 61 CSR projects from the corporations examined are highlighted, which demonstrate the feasibility of translating corporate commitment into action to reduce social inequality in Brazil. Furthermore, the idea of poverty and inequality as a lack of income only, seems to be dominant amongst the interviewees. This prevents social contributions from going beyond initiatives such as education to include others which could potentially enhance people's choices and ability to exercise citizenship. Wanderley, L. S. O. (2004). Corporate social responsibility in Brazil: actions and perceptions in large corporations (Doctoral thesis, Judge Institute of Management Studies, University of Cambridge).
... Frequently these conflicts are the result of perceived failures by governments to deal with such issues as indigenous rights and deforestation (Ruggie 2003). Previously ENGOs have targeted governments, but increasingly they have focussed on corporations because of their increased prominence in dominating policy agendas of national governments and international organisations (Murphy and Bendell 1997;John and Thomson 2003), as well as responding to the perceived inaction of governments regarding regulating the operating practices of the corporations (Newell 2001). In other words, they are targeting the holders of power (Tilly 1999), those that can make changes, for example, to improve the sustainability of forest management. ...
Article
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Globally, in recent decades, forest industry has come under increased scrutiny, often lead by environmental non-government organisations (ENGOs). The present paper analyses the strategies used by the ENGOs in different forest conflicts involving the forest industry. The main aim is to determine if there is a relationship between the forest industries’ links (shareholders, financiers and customers) and the location of the ENGOs campaigning against them. Fourteen forest conflicts are used as case studies, representing different geographical regions. A detailed screening of the different actors and relations was performed for each case study based on existing academic literature, publications from relevant ENGOs and companies. The results reveal a strong correlation between the location of the ENGOs involved and the financial and economic links of the companies. A theoretical framework is proposed to explain the mechanisms used by the ENGOs to introduce pressure on the forest industries involved in conflicts. The blanket nature of the campaigns by ENGOs illustrates that the movement has globalised in response to the global nature of the industry. The present research contributes to a better understanding of the relationship between forest industry and ENGOs, and in assisting forest industry in its interactions with stakeholders, including ENGOs.Globally, in recent decades, forest industry has come under increased scrutiny, often led by environmental non-government organisations (ENGOs). The present paper analyses the strategies used by the ENGOs in different forest conflicts involving forest industry. The main aim is to determine if there is a relationship between forest industries’ partners (shareholders, financiers and customers) and the location of the ENGOs campaigning against them. Fourteen forest conflicts are used as case studies, representing different geographical regions. A detailed screening of the different actors and relations was performed for each case study based on existing academic literature, publications from relevant ENGOs and companies. The results reveal a strong correlation between the location of the ENGOs involved and the companies’ financial and economic partners. We put forward, and test, a theoretical framework to explain the mechanisms used by the ENGOs to apply pressure on the companies involved in conflicts. The blanket nature of the campaigns by ENGOs illustrates that the movement has globalised in response to the global nature of the industry. The present research contributes to a better understanding of the relationship between forest industry and ENGOs, including the strategies employed by the ENGOs, and in assisting forest industry in its interactions with stakeholders, including ENGOs.Globally, in recent decades, forest industry has come under increased scrutiny, often led by environmental non-government organisations (ENGOs). The present paper analyses the strategies used by the ENGOs in different forest conflicts involving forest industry. The main aim is to determine if there is a relationship between forest industries’ partners (shareholders, financiers and customers) and the location of the ENGOs campaigning against them. Fourteen forest conflicts are used as case studies, representing different geographical regions. A detailed screening of the different actors and relations was performed for each case study based on existing academic literature, publications from relevant ENGOs and companies. The results reveal a strong correlation between the location of the ENGOs involved and the companies’ financial and economic partners. We put forward, and test, a theoretical framework to explain the mechanisms used by the ENGOs to apply pressure on the companies involved in conflicts. The blanket nature of the campaigns by ENGOs illustrates that the movement has globalised in response to the global nature of the industry. The present research contributes to a better understanding of the relationship between forest industry and ENGOs, including the strategies employed by the ENGOs, and in assisting forest industry in its interactions with stakeholders, including ENGOs.Globally, in recent decades, forest industry has come under increased scrutiny, often led by environmental non-government organisations (ENGOs). The present paper analyses the strategies used by the ENGOs in different forest conflicts involving forest industry. The main aim is to determine if there is a relationship between forest industries’ partners (shareholders, financiers and customers) and the location of the ENGOs campaigning against them. Fourteen forest conflicts are used as case studies, representing different geographical regions. A detailed screening of the different actors and relations was performed for each case study based on existing academic literature, publications from relevant ENGOs and companies. The results reveal a strong correlation between the location of the ENGOs involved and the companies’ financial and economic partners. We put forward, and test, a theoretical framework to explain the mechanisms used by the ENGOs to apply pressure on the companies involved in conflicts. The blanket nature of the campaigns by ENGOs illustrates that the movement has globalised in response to the global nature of the industry. The present research contributes to a better understanding of the relationship between forest industry and ENGOs, including the strategies employed by the ENGOs, and in assisting forest industry in its interactions with stakeholders, including ENGOs.Globally, in recent decades, forest industry has come under increased scrutiny, often led by environmental non-government organisations (ENGOs). The present paper analyses the strategies used by the ENGOs in different forest conflicts involving forest industry. The main aim is to determine if there is a relationship between forest industries’ partners (shareholders, financiers and customers) and the location of the ENGOs campaigning against them. Fourteen forest conflicts are used as case studies, representing different geographical regions. A detailed screening of the different actors and relations was performed for each case study based on existing academic literature, publications from relevant ENGOs and companies. The results reveal a strong correlation between the location of the ENGOs involved and the companies’ financial and economic partners. We put forward, and test, a theoretical framework to explain the mechanisms used by the ENGOs to apply pressure on the companies involved in conflicts. The blanket nature of the campaigns by ENGOs illustrates that the movement has globalised in response to the global nature of the industry. The present research contributes to a better understanding of the relationship between forest industry and ENGOs, including the strategies employed by the ENGOs, and in assisting forest industry in its interactions with stakeholders, including ENGOs.
Article
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The recent economic/environmental discourse on development issues has led to a new paradigm of development called here the eco-economic development model, but usually known as sustainable development(include both ecological and economic concerns), which has successfully substituted the traditional model of economic development in general acceptance. However, new models usually imply new rules and perhaps a new type of market. Yet, policy issues within the eco-economic development paradigm are being addressed with theoretical constructs and a state of mind as if we were still in the old paradigm. Part of the reason for this may be that the nature and the internal structure of the new paradigm are not yet well-known and understood as nobody has apparently looked into this. It should be expected that the two paradigms are not equivalent to each other, and therefore, they should be addressed differently. The goal of this paper is to present a qualitative approach from a systematic point of view which can be used to highlight how different the two paradigms are in terms of structure and policy implications. Then, this information is used to provide an answer to three of the most important questions related to the issues mentioned above:is the economic development market the same as the eco-economic development market?; if not, how many invisible hands are there in the eco-economic development market?; and what are the environmental, social, and economic policy implications of this situation?. Over all, it is shown that new paradigms require a new line of thinking to market policy and planning.
Chapter
This chapter sets the scene for understanding transformative change in the context of sustainability as a stewarding task and a collective leadership challenge. It explores the current leadership discourse with a focus on collectives and reviews the discourse on global transformation. The chapter identifies where these discourses point to leadership as the transformative capacity of a collective of distributed actors across institutions. It argues that a paradigm shift toward a radically new way of seeing reality based on a systems view of life is needed in order to conceptualize stewarding transformative change for sustainability.
Article
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Unternehmen gehören zu den wich-tigsten Akteuren im Prozess der Transformation hin zunachhaltigeren Wirtschaftsformen. Angesichts der Vielzahlan Möglichkeiten für Unternehmen, den Aspekt der Nach-haltigkeit aufzugreifen, strebt d er vorliegende Beitrag eineSystematisierung an. Basierend auf der vorliegenden Litera-tur werden bestehende theoretische Ansätze zur Integrationvon Nachhaltigkeit in die Unternehmen sstrategie in einerübergeordneten Typologie zu sammengeführt. Full text: http://rdcu.be/w4r2
Thesis
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The first chapter overviews whether or not current forms of development are sustainable or not. It demonstrates that they are not - and then considers the implications of this. As such this chapter sets the context for the rest of my thesis, which demonstrates that it is possible to achieve significant levels of decoupling of economic growth from a range of environmental pressures such as greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity loss and natural resource degradation, freshwater extraction, air pollution, waste and hazardous waste. By clearly differentiating between economic and physical growth and focusing on how to achieve significant decoupling this thesis advances the traditional debates and discourses about “growth”. This thesis shows that in theory and practice it is possible to achieve significant levels of decoupling, and thus environmental sustainability, whilst maintaining economic growth. This thesis examines the relative costs of inaction versus action on decoupling, concluding that the costs of inaction significantly outweigh the costs of action. It also examines whether a transition to environmental sustainabilty will lead to net job losses or gains, showing that, with effective policy, it can result in net employment gains. As such, this thesis provides a new integration to show that it is possible to reconcile the need to simultaneously achieve environmental sustainability, economic growth and job creation. This result has important implications for other important sustainability debates such as the climate change debates. These are explored in detail in this thesis. This thesis also demonstrates that many social sustainability goals – reducing poverty, inequality and corruption whilst improving access to education and health –correlate strongly with improved economic growth. Thus this thesis demonstrates that it is possible to create a new form of economic growth that is also environmentally and socially sustainable as called for in the seminal text on sustainable development "Our Common Future" in 1987. Finally, this thesis is a formal defense of and contribution to the academic field of ecological modernization which has hypothesized that it is possible to simultaneously pursue environmental sustainability, social justice and economic growth in ways that mutually re-enforce each other. This thesis provides significant evidence to support this central tenet of ecological modernisation. The research of this thesis has helped inform and contribute to several international book publications all of which show nations how to achieve significant decoupling of economic growth from environmental pressures such as Cents and Sustainability:Securing Our Common Future by Decoupling Economic Growth from Environmental Pressures (Earthscan, 2010). Note: This thesis was submitted in April 2006 and was awarded in September 2009.
Book
"An important, controversial account ... of the way in which man's use of poisons to control insect pests and unwanted vegetation is changing the balance of nature." Booklist.
Article
We humans live by stories, says David Korten, and the stories that now govern our society set us on a path to certain self-destruction. In this profound new book, Korten shares the results of his search for a story that reflects the fullness of human knowledge and understanding and provides a guide to action adequate to the needs of our time. Korten calls our current story Sacred Money and Markets. Money, it tells us, is the measure of all worth and the source of all happiness. Earth is simply a source of raw materials. Inequality and environmental destruction are unfortunate but unavoidable. Although many recognize that this story promotes bad ethics, bad science, and bad economics, it will remain our guiding story until replaced by one that aligns with our deepest understanding of the universe and our relationship to it. To guide our path to a viable human future, Korten offers a Sacred Life and Living Earth story grounded in a cosmology that affirms we are living beings born of a living Earth itself born of a living universe. Our health and well-being depend on an economy that works in partnership with the processes by which Earth's community of life maintains the conditions of its own existence - and ours. Offering a hopeful vision, Korten lays out the transformative impact adopting this story will have on every aspect of human life and society.