An Evolutionary Approach to Business Strategies and the Natural Environment
Chapter 9: The Future of Creating Ecological Value
9. The future of creating ecological value In October 2007 the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) published its fourth Global Outlook report.1 The report presents evidence that many of the ecological impacts that have been on the agenda of concerned citizens and public and private decision makers for quite some time do not show trends towards being solved. Despite substantial efforts, issues like ozone depletion, global warming and deforestation are not closer to being resolved. Gaining insight into the way in which firms deal with their ecological impact is vital in addressing such problems as firms are central actors in processes of production and consumption. Understanding the way in which they define their ecological impact and come to act based on that perception, as well as the way in which those actions interact to change systems of production and consumption, is not just an interesting scientific challenge; it is a necessary basis for adequately dealing with our current predicament. I use the word understanding in the sense of the sociologist Weber, who acknowledged that any explanation of social phenomena requires that we are able to comprehend the meaning which is attached to actions by the individuals that perform them.2 This requires insight into their motives, frames of references and also into the social context in which they operate. The social constructionist approach adopted in this book takes this methodological requirement seriously. The theoretical approaches that have been used as building blocks fit with this requirement: dependency in resource networks is...
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