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Profits and SustainabilityA History of Green Entrepreneurship$
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Geoffrey Jones

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198706977

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198706977.001.0001

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Corporate Environmentalism and the Boundaries of Sustainability

Corporate Environmentalism and the Boundaries of Sustainability

(p.356) 9 Corporate Environmentalism and the Boundaries of Sustainability
Profits and Sustainability

Geoffrey Jones

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the greening of large conventional firms since 1980, the acquisition of many green entrepreneurial firms, and the rise of “greenwashing.” While noting that this development appeared to signal the success of green business, and the scaling needed for sustainability to make a real impact, there were also major problems. In particular, there were frequent and large gaps between corporate rhetoric and reality, threatening consumer disillusion and making it harder for more genuinely green firms to make their distinctive case. Corporate environmentalism was also constrained by the huge pressure on firms to meet quarterly returns, making it hard for large corporations to pursue truly radical sustainability strategies.

Keywords:   corporate environmentalism, greenwashing, quarterly capitalism, sustainability, green business

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