Sustainability, Epistemology, Ecocentric Business, and Marketing Strategy: Ideology, Reality, and Vision

Abstract

This conceptual article examines the relationship between marketing and sustainability through the dual lenses of anthropocentric and ecocentric epistemology. Using the current anthropocentric epistemology and its associated dominant social paradigm, corporate ecological sustainability in commercial practice and business school research and teaching is difficult to achieve. However, adopting an ecocentric epistemology enables the development of an alternative business and marketing approach that places equal importance on nature, the planet, and ecological sustainability as the source of human and other species’ well-being, as well as the source of all products and services. This article examines ecocentric, transformational business, and marketing strategies epistemologically, conceptually and practically and thereby proposes six ecocentric, transformational, strategic marketing universal premises as part of a vision of and solution to current global un-sustainability. Finally, this article outlines several opportunities for management practice and further research.

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Acknowledgments

Jon Reast served as section editor for this article. The authors thank him and the anonymous reviewers for their comments and suggestions during the review process.

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Correspondence to Adam Lindgreen.

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Borland, H., Lindgreen, A. Sustainability, Epistemology, Ecocentric Business, and Marketing Strategy: Ideology, Reality, and Vision. J Bus Ethics 117, 173–187 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-012-1519-8

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Keywords

  • Sustainability
  • Ecocentric business
  • Epistemology
  • Transitional
  • Transformational
  • Marketing strategy
  • Vision