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Big Picture Book - Eco Efficiency - Review
Chief Executive, The, August, 2001 by Ray C. Anderson

Livio DeSimone
Frank Popoff

DEPENDING ON THE reader, this book by Livio DeSimone, former chairman and CEO of 3M, and Frank Popoff, former chairman and CEO of Dow Chemical, may seem either a valuable primer on environmental stewardship or yesteryear's elementary thinking.

The novice business leader may find the ideas challenging, though appealing in that they make regulators go away or put a good PR face on the company's image. Experienced practitioners of serious sustainability initiatives, on the other hand, may find the book's ideas somewhat simplistic, even smacking shallowly of "green wash." Most business people will be somewhere in between and find Eco Efficiency stimulating, revealing, and sensible. The recurring reaction is likely to be "ah-hah!" as the lights go on in the reader's mind, and beyond compliance takes root as an enlightened notion of a better, more responsible way to make another buck.

Written in the aftermath of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, Eco-Efficiency represented advanced thinking for its time. It set forth the viewpoint of a handful of multinational corporations under the banner of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, of which the authors were founding members. The Council had just come into being and was searching for its purpose. Eco-Efficiency established the new state of the art for those early efforts, moving beyond mere defensive reaction against regulation to such proactive, profitable activities as waste reduction, pollution prevention, energy-efficiency measures, and rudimentary recycling.

As corporate leaders, the authors are to be congratulated for their courage in taking a stand at a time when it might have been seen as unpopular, even extreme, activism by their peers. The authors also performed a highly useful service in pointing out obstacles as well as rewards, and barriers as well as the essential commitments necessary for success. They consistently return to leadership as the key, and call upon CEOs to provide it.

The importance of these early efforts is not to be discounted. The book's great service is to place responsibility for the environment squarely in the laps of business and industry, while offering specific "how-tos" to begin to change course. Unfortunately, in practice, eco-efficiency still remains beyond the U.S. norm.

Read Eco-Efficiency to see where you fall along the spectrum that extends from plunderer (most of us) to restorer. If you find the book elementary, move on to something more advanced. If challenging, start now with little things, and know you have a long way to grow to become a responsible steward of Earth's finite, limited resources, especially if you wish to move beyond the necessity of profits to the nobility of purpose, and beyond success to significance.

COPYRIGHT 2001 Chief Executive Publishing
COPYRIGHT 2001 Gale Group

Bibliography for "Big Picture Book - Eco Efficiency - Review"
Ray C. Anderson "Big Picture Book - Eco Efficiency - Review". Chief Executive, The. August 2001.

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