For decades, movements for social justice and environmental advocacy have pointed out the flaws of industrial activity and called for new laws to address pollution, habitat destruction, public health threats, consumer protection, labor standards, and the like.
Many laws and regulations have been passed, even to the point where some say business is "over-regulated" in the U.S.
Yet, we must be forgiven for asking if we are today any closer to saving the planet or achieving social justice?
We are at the point now where for-profit companies exercise a great deal of influence over social and environmental policy.
The sprawling global supply chains of large companies means a very small percentage of total business activity takes place where the protective laws and regulations of OSHA, FDA, EPA, and other federal agencies can reach.
Further, it is commonly understood that even when federal and state laws are applicable to business activity, regulations can be watered down and agencies are subject to the constant threat of regulatory capture. This is old news by now--everyone knows that the public role of private enterprise has grown tremendously over the years.
But this raises the difficult question of our time: how should for-profit enterprise deal with environmental and social responsibility?
Econautics Sustainability Institute seeks to answer that question.
We want to reconcile the apparent opposites of public and private interest with a vision of sustainable business. We hope to bridge the gap between what the general public and the environment needs, on one hand, and what businesses must do to survive and profit, on the other. The goal is to interpret environmental and social sustainability into actionable business terms that are consistent with the profit motive.
In short, "Getting paid to do the right thing." It can be done. We can help.
It all starts with creating new knowledge. Econautics' leadership has developed scholarly articles as well as book-length publications. Econautics' leaders deliver keynote addresses at industry conferences; provide educational programming for academic events; and consult with industry on sustainability matters. While our primary audience is leadership within the private sector, we are committed to promoting the public interest.