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Walmart. Coca-Cola. BP. Toyota. The world economy runs on the profits of transnational corporations. Politicians need their backing. Non-profit organizations rely on their philanthropy. People look to their brands for meaning. And their power continues to rise. Can these companies, as so many are now hoping, provide the solutions to end the mounting global environmental crisis?
Absolutely, the CEOs of big business are telling us: the commitment to corporate social responsibility will ensure it happens voluntarily.
Peter Dauvergne challenges this claim, arguing instead that corporations are still doing far more to destroy than protect our planet. Trusting big business to lead sustainability is, he cautions, unwise perhaps even catastrophic. Planetary sustainability will require reining in the power of big business, starting now. Peter Dauvergne is Professor of International Relations at the University of British Columbia.