Towards an Anthropology of Globalization
Edited by Subhabrata Bobby Banerjee, Vanessa C.M. Chio and Raza Mir
Chapter 3: Sustainable Development in the Age of Natural Capitalism: Making the World While Saving Profits
3. Sustainable development in the age of natural capitalism: making the world while saving proﬁts Martin Fougère and Nikodemus Solitander INTRODUCTION: THE BUSINESS CASE FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT Some business leaders were drawn to the concept [of sustainable development] as they realized not only was it not anti-growth but also it called for serious economic growth to meet the needs of the current population. (Holliday et al. 2002: 15) After years of trials, tribulations and tripartite schizophrenia, the discourse of sustainable development (SD) seems to have found a corporate articulation that accommodates concerns for economic, social and ecological developments. Since the introduction of the concept in Our Common Future (WCED 1987) in 1987, SD has become a global priority that has greatly aﬀected practice and policy at diﬀerent socio-spatial scales (Bryant and Wilson 1998). As a dominant discourse SD forms and reforms our conception of ‘nature’, what is ‘natural’ and ‘sustainable’, and how we are to stabilize the biophysical foundations of earth that are threatened by economic growth. Our Common Future marked a turning point in representing nature as capital instead of, as in the modernist vision, a passive and free natural resource. It served as a core document during the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (‘Earth Summit’) in Rio in 1992, where some elements of SD were further reﬁned. Central to this was the unprecedented corporate involvement in the task of ﬁnding out who destroys the irreplaceable natural resources, who produces the pollution,...
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