Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Greening of Business in Developing Countries

I got myself a copy of this book sometime in 2005. I didn't buy it from a bookstore or the UNRISD or other publishing house, I found it on Booksale at the basement of SM Manila. I bought the book for 200 pesos (around US$4) way below its actual value since it is a used copy (I checked at Amazon, a new copy is US$99!). Probably, someone from the first world found his or her copy insignificant given the market context of the developed world and decided to donate it. Luckily, someone in the Third World found it...that lucky person was me at a time when I was struggling in financing my graduate studies.

Richard Welford's article Disturbing Development laid a framework of how corporations should act towards achieving sustainable development. According to the article, policy areas and tools for sustainable development must not be simply limited to the physical environment but also other factors such as empowerment, economics, ethics, equity and education.

Fast forward three years later and working in the fast food industry, being quite young and being subordinate to a number of senior consultants with massive years working for the industry, none of my suggestions seemed to go beyond the meeting table. It is still difficult for people to drop their corporate biases and the current system in terms of regulatory guidance for the fast food does not enable the industry to follow a path towards sustainable development because "permitting" is still the core issue. Performance is equated with permits. On the other hand suggestions from civil society groups do not fall in the right context, just awkwardly inserted in an undefined environmental policy.

If any of my former colleagues are reading this, I'm very happy to lend you my copy as long as you return it and change your paradigms. Establish a good framework and please stop committing greenwash by posting ads that are unvalidated.