Matthew Henry John Bartlett

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Tuesday 13 March, 02007

Nailing down sustainability jelly

by Matthew Bartlett @ 1:52 pm

According to Paul Hawken, sustainable businesses:

  • replace nationally and internationally produced items with products created locally and regionally
  • take responsibility for the effects they have on the natural world
  • do not require exotic sources of capital in order to develop and grow
  • engage in production processes that are human, worthy, dignified, and intrinsically satisfying
  • create objects of durability and long-term utility whose ultimate use or disposition will not be harmful to future generations
  • change consumer to customers through education

[from Spyglass Green Marketing]

11 responses to “Nailing down sustainability jelly”

  1. kathy says:

    do they do all these things?
    i wonder particularly about the intrinsically satisfying bit. i mean , it sounds good but what about making toilet paper for instance or being a worker in a lightbulb factory. i guess our whole consuming way of being would have to change a lot.
    it seems sad that i can’t concieve of a world where i can’t buy toilet paper cheaply at the super.

  2. Richard D. Bartlett says:

    six ticks for Bartlett Projects

    can’t say the same for the other BP

  3. Matthew says:

    Except this wing of Bartlett Projects prints books in deepest darkest China.

  4. Richard D. Bartlett says:

    What a let down. Pull yourself together man.

  5. richface says:

    Why can’t you require exotic forms of capital?

  6. Matthew says:

    What are e fs of c?

  7. richface says:

    Not sure. I imagined capital raising via things like public listing, debentures, private equity investment vehicles etc

  8. The most important to me (morally) is taking responsibility for the effects, though I don’t know why they should only take responsibility for their impact on the *natural* world. E.g., if I’m totally green and yet oppressing the people in my community, is that responsible?

    I think the “no exotic capital” rule is probably the most important for the success of a business when that business is built in a new or unusual model. (For example, there are some great Korean businesses in my area that have succeeded partially because they are financed by the Korean community, and thus not dependant on banks or investors who may not be thinking long range).

  9. Matthew says:

    Well, you couldn’t be a sustainable business (under that definition) and oppress people through the production processes themselves. The last point expresses a concern for people outside the organisation. But it does need to be more explicit, or you could have ‘sustainable’ weapons manufacturers. (motherfuckers!) ‘Sustainability’ can become one more way of maintaining the status quo.

    That was a second-hand summary – I should get Hawken’s book The Ecology of Commerce out of the library again and get it from the horse’s mouth.

  10. Deborah says:

    Human, worthy, dignified, and satisfying production processes go some way towards this… but would like to see the employment relationship given more attention in this list–just remuneration and conditions, positive role for unions, partnership between employers and employees.

  11. Matthew Baird says:

    Fascinating stuff.

    Specially about the BAE. Their move can hardly be touted as an intrinsically bad thing (the marketing thereof might potentially be so) but it seems massively contradictory to me to speak of ‘not causing lasting harm’ as a weapons manufacturer.

    What BAE seems to mean is that your mines won’t continue to blow the limbs off unsuspecting people for such a long time. But blowing limbs off in and of itself isn’t causing ‘lasting harm’.

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