Chapter 3: The New Field of Sustainable Entrepreneurship: Studying Entrepreneurial Action Linking “What Is to Be Sustained” With “What Is to Be Developed”
Sustainable development is perhaps the most prominent topic of our time. Commonplace are reports of ozone depletion, climate change, and destruction of biodiversity that demonstrate the negative and potentially deadly consequences these processes have for living species (e.g., IPCC, 2007; UNEP, 2004). However, scholars have claimed that entrepreneurial action can preserve ecosystems, counteract climate change, reduce environmental degradation and deforestation, improve agricultural practices and freshwater supply, and maintain biodiversity (e.g., Cohen & Winn, 2007; Dean & McMullen, 2007). Moreover, such actions can, particularly in developing countries, enhance education, productivity, socioeconomic status, physical health, and self-reliance of individuals and societies (e.g., Wheeleretal., 2005). Last but not least, there are numerous examples of where entrepreneurial action creates economic gains for investors, entrepreneurs, and economies (e.g., Easterly, 2006). Sustainable entrepreneurship research is needed to explore the role of entrepreneurial action as a mechanism for sustaining nature and ecosystems while providing economic and non-economic gains for investors, entrepreneurs, and societies.
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