The great tragedy of environmentalism and sustainability, is the politicization of the two subjects over the last three decades. The Big Spill is only the latest example of our broken two party system’s approach to problem-solving in the environmental realm. Split into factions, our Congress and media have found it convenient to be pro-B.P. or pro-everything else. Very few in politics, either in the committee rooms or in front of the cameras, seem to be pro-solution any more.
But what is sustainability really? Is it a part of some communist conspiracy, is it a bad idea by well-meaning but naive environmentalists, or is it the future of good business? For years, U.S. business theory has been grounded in the teaching that earning profit is the number one moral responsibility of any business. The notion has been part and parcel of business school teaching for decades, and is ingrained in the mindsets of most of today’s top managers. Increasing shareholder value is the mantra that is still preached in schools and lower level management meetings across America. At first blush, it would appear that changing that mindset is an impossible task; but there is a common ground emerging.