Chapter 7: Firms’ Commitment: Interviews
There’s not green flowing through our veins, we’re a car company after all! (Ford interviewee) Recycling, not taking plastic bags from the supermarket and taking your own canvas bags etc., these are all little things but they’re slowly building a level of consciousness about the environment that makes us rush to introduce a vehicle like Prius into the market. (Toyota interviewee) Firms’ rationales for their environmental commitments reflect the institutional context of their home states where they are economically, politically, socially, culturally and historically embedded, as well as physically headquartered. This key point, at the center of this book and implied by the Varieties of Capitalism approach, was borne out by the analysis of the major German, US and Japanese firms’ environmental reports in Chapter 6. What was shown was that national institutional variations in capitalist relations of production produce different perceptions of what is important in addressing the environmental impact of firms’ operations. The analysis also highlighted some key differences at the subnational level. For example, German firms are particularly mindful of consensual cooperation with regulators while taking account of social concerns, whereas Japanese firms place more emphasis on leading society and being internally driven by company policies. To build on these findings, this chapter seeks to marry firms’ stated rationales for environmental commitments with the results of interviews conducted with key personnel from Volkswagen, BMW, Ford and Toyota. Mirroring the analysis in Chapters 4 to 6, interviewees’ perceptions of state regulations, the role of market forces, including consumer...
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