Business and Sustainability: An Introduction

Part of the Sustainability and Innovation book series (SUSTAINABILITY)


Business increasingly participates in co-regulatory and self-regulatory arrangements along national governments, international organizations, civil society and private-public institutions. These co-regulatory and self-regulatory arrangements span multiple political arenas and jurisdictions from the community level to international relations. Fair trade and energy consumption labels, accounting and transparency standards as well forest certification and emissions trading are well known examples of the increasing role of business in the dynamic regulatory space.

Efforts to set up regulations are widespread in policy-domains that form part of the larger sustainability discourse. Demands to put sustainability and sustainable development onto the political agenda and the occurrence of business co-regulatory and self-regulatory arrangements have evolved in fairly parallel fashion since the 1990s. Business is frequently portrayed as the main (and often the only) source of environmental pollution, of decomposing social relationships and values through the exploitation of workers, of implementing profit and utility-maximization behaviour, of globalizing and homogenizing national cultural traditions, and of creatively destructing industries and national economies. However, most attempts to alleviate the business impact on the sustainable development of our planet involve at least some sort of business participation.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Politics and Public AdministrationUniversity of KonstanzKonstanzGermany
  2. 2.Politics and International Relations Program, School of Social SciencesUniversity of TasmaniaHobartAustralia

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