Eco-Efficiency: The Business Link to Sustainable Development

By Livio D. DeSimone; Frank Popoff | Go to book overview

5 Partnership
for Eco-efficiency

This chapter is about the value of partnership for achieving eco-efficiency, the ways partnership can be made successful and the organizations that business can partner with. We divide the latter into four main categories—those in the workplace and marketplace such as employees and customers; those in research and training; host communities and those in the public policy realm—and provide many examples of successful partnership for eco-efficiency in each. Later sections focus on those in an area that is particularly important to eco-efficiency, regulatory reform.

Of course, the value of partnership has not always been appreciated by business. The history of industry's response to environmental concerns has four main stages—denial, data, delivery, and dialogue, or the four D's. Back in the 1970s, most companies adopted the attitude that what went on within their fences was no one else's business. They shrouded themselves in a veil of secrecy, claiming the need to protect confidentiality and proprietary interests. They denied that they had problems. Not surprisingly, some outside of industry interpreted this as a sure sign that something was being hidden.

The second stage, roughly in the 1980s, was data collection and exchange—mainly "our facts are better than your facts." It was an improvement over the first stage in that people were at least communicating with each other.But the public was still unimpressed. One important piece of learning from this period was that people simply do not care about what companies know—they want to know how much they care.

Caring means taking action—and the 1990s message to business has been that fine words mean nothing if business cannot show continuous improvement of environmental performance and development of environmentally sound products and processes. Business leaders acknowledged this with the widely quoted maxim "don't trust us, track us." Of

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Eco-Efficiency: The Business Link to Sustainable Development
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Eco-Efficiency - The Business Link to Sustainable Development *
  • Contents *
  • Foreword *
  • Views of Business Leaders *
  • Acknowledgments *
  • Introduction *
  • 1 - Eco-Efficiency and Sustainable Development *
  • 2 - Eco-Efficiency and the Bottom Line *
  • 3 - Defining and Measuring Eco-Efficiency *
  • 4 - Becoming Eco-Efficient *
  • 5 - Partnership for Eco-Efficiency *
  • 6 - Case Studies *
  • 7 - A Leadership Role for Business *
  • Notes *
  • Wbcsd Working Group on Eco-Efficiency *
  • Index *
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