Multinational Enterprises and the Challenge of Sustainable Development
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Multinational Enterprises and the Challenge of Sustainable Development

Edited by John R. McIntyre, Silvester Ivanaj and Vera Ivanaj

Transnational corporations play a role in the design, diffusion, and consolidation of sustainable development in the context of globalization and multinational firms. In this timely book European and American contributors analyze this role and explore the complex and dynamic phenomena of economic, political, cultural and legal interactions involved.
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Chapter 5: Of Butterflies and Hummingbirds: Industrial Ecology ‘On the Wing’

Van V. Miller and Charles T. Crespy


Van V. Miller and Charles T. Crespy INTRODUCTION1 1. As a boy, I once went goose hunting with my older cousin. He explained to me that day as we climbed up the hill looking down on the goose pond an important rule – the geese must be shot ‘on the wing’. To shoot them while they floated on the water would be not only unsportsmanlike but also wrong. I have forgotten whether we bagged any geese that day (probably not), yet I have never forgotten those words – ‘on the wing’ – and the admonishment to shoot according to the rules. But let’s dispense with the hunting metaphor and shooting and instead, let’s discuss butterflies, hummingbirds and rules about ‘on the wing’. You ask – what does that have to do with sustainable development (SD) and industrial ecology (IE) – the theoretical underpinning of this chapter? Our reply is – much – for an emerging discipline that draws its inspiration from natural systems. In an article discussing the boundaries of IE, Randles (2007: 164) discussed the issue of scale or geographical levels for industrial ecology. Her point was: We can no longer envisage a simple hierarchy of separate levels – the individual, the household, the neighborhood, the urban, the national, the global or alternatively, the plant, the firm, the sector, the economy, because such a hierarchical interpretation requires the conceptual privileging of one scale over another when, in fact, the interaction between these levels demands that they be seen as overlapping and ‘superimposed.’ From her discussion about geography...

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