The Noah Project

Rebuilding a sustainable world.

This Week’s Rant

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Under the category “Sustainability”, I find endless titles like:

Sustainability is a “commerical imperative” – with a £1000bn reward

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD)  counts Unilever, P&G, GM, Nestle, Coca-Cola, BP, Monsanto and Shell among its members.

Ratings and rankings: How competition promotes corporate sustainability

Here’s an interesting quote from Ratings and rankings:

“At Ingersoll Rand, we believe that integrating sustainability across all parts of our business enables us to achieve profitable growth by meeting the future needs of our customers, while simultaneously delivering efficiency and lowering risks,” says W. Scott Tew, executive director of the Center for Energy and Efficiency at Ingersoll Rand. “We do not look at our recent success in achieving improved rankings as the end-goal. Rather, we view the various rankings as a useful benchmark for companies like us to target areas where we need continued improvement.”

Quoting a “sustainability” rating provided by perennial favorites such as the RO BECO Dow Jones Sustainability IndicesFTSE4Good IndicesCRO Top 100CDP and Newsweek’s Green Rankings is, in my opinion, designed more to make Ingersoll look appealing to “the average consumer [who] is shopping smarter and caring more about the practices and impacts of their preferred brands” than actually insuring their business practices are “fulfilling the social, economic and other requirements of present and future generations.”

On a personal note, I find it ironic that Ingersoll Rand makes more than half of its profits in the US, yet incorporated in the Bermuda’s in 2002 to avoid paying up to $40 million in taxes.  I suppose “sustaining” their capital by depriving the US Treasury of tax dollars went a ways toward their effort to “achieve profitable growth.”

There may be a dawning awareness among these corporate titans that, eventually, they will have to deal with the finite resources available on this earth.  But as of now, corporations – and particularly these large multi-national conglomerates – are still far more concerned about their quarterly earnings and their next annual report then they are about “sustainability” as laid out by the EPA:

Sustainability is based on a simple principle:  Everything that we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment.  Sustainability creates and maintains the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic and other requirements of present and future generations.

Sustainability is important to making sure that we have and will continue to have,  the water, materials, and resources to protect human health and our environment.

What a great principle.  If only the EPA had the Congressional support and the teeth to do something about it.

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Author: Daniela

I was born in Croatia, at that time Yugoslavia. My family moved to the US when I was very young, but I still treasure the memories of my grandfather teaching me how to protect myself against the "evil eye," my grandmother shopping early every morning, at the open air market, to buy the freshest vegetables for the day's meals, and the traditions that were the underpinnings of our society. Someone once noted that "For all of us that want to move forward, there are a very few that want to keep the old methods of production, traditions and crafts alive." I am a fellow traveler with those who value the old traditions and folk wisdom. I believe the knowledge they possess can contribute significantly to our efforts to build a more sustainable world; one that values the individual over the corporation, conservation over growth and happiness over wealth.

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