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The New York Times: Big Business = Environmentalists

Look back at the December 6 New York Times Sunday Opinion section and you’ll find this headline, “Will Big Business Save the Earth?”

The author, Jared Diamond, op-ed contributor to The New York Times and UCLA Professor of Geography, answers with a resounding “yes” and to make his point, he profiles three companies, Wal-Mart, Coca-Cola and Chevron, which he admits “many critics of business love to hate.” Today, he says, companies such as these are “among the world’s strongest positive forces for environmental sustainability.”

Among his specific comments:
- Wal-Mart is changing procedures, working to double the fuel efficiency of its truck fleet, pursuing a goal of zero packaging waste, and buying from sustainability-managed sources.
- Coca-Cola is committed to fresh water conservation and protection, recycling plastic bottles, and reducing energy consumption.
- Regarding Chevron, he says, “Not even in any national park have I seen such rigorous environmental protection as I encountered in five visits to new Chevron-managed oil fields in Papua, New Guinea.

Whether you’re pro-business or anti-business, it’s an interesting read. It confirms sentiment I heard at the “Business as an Agent of World Benefit” Global Forum at Case Western Reserve University earlier this year.

Business is saying and doing the right things, and it’s making a difference. Even in tough economic times, doing well by doing good is working. Sustainability = Attainability.

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