Business and the Environment-two reviews

NON FICTION BOOK REVIEW  

625 words

Green is Gold, Business Talking To Business About The 
Environmental Revolution; by Patrick Carson & Julia 
Moulden; Harper Collins; 216 pages; $14.95; paperback

Costing the Earth, The Challenge for Governments, the 
Opportunities for Business; by Frances Cairncross; 
Harvard Business School Press; 341 pages; hardcover.

Reviewer: A.T.Connellan, "These books are for people who 
care to be part of the solution, although the only thing they 
have in common is that they are printed on recycled paper."

The environment, two conflicting views for making change

Societies awareness of the need for a cleaner, healthier 
environment is a recent phenomenon. Our conscience has 
traditionally been pricked by those sincere, naive, 
unqualified souls who march, chant, and generally make 
fools of themselves in the belief that they can actually 
effect change. 
         
Politicians, always a step or two behind, prance, puff, 
and postulate various outrageous solutions, depending on 
their philosophical location on the political spectrum, 
all the while with an eye on the only sector that can 
make it happen. 
         
The business community, in the meantime, coldly analyze 
the situation in search of trends that present 
opportunities. Once identified, qualified, and 
quantified, they move and progress is achieved. 
        
That is the democratic system, and it works as long as 
the players know the rules and play their parts. How and 
why it works is important to all of us. Here are two new 
volumes that attempt to explain this process from 
positions somewhere between the sublime and the 
ridiculous. 

The only thing they have in common is that they are 
printed on recycled paper.

Green is Gold, Business Talking To Business About The 
Environmental Revolution; by Patrick Carson & Julia 
Moulden; Harper Collins; 216 pages; $14.95; paperback.
      
Right there on page number 1, we discover that in the 
spring of 1988 this environmental thing really got 
rolling for author Patrick Carson with a call from his 
boss Richard Currie Loblaw pres. It seems that Dick 
wanted Pat to help Loblaws "do the right thing" 
environment/corporate-wise. Next to enter the picture 
was our countries, presidents choice of, TV pitchmen 
Dave"No Name" Nichols, now president of Loblaw 
International Merchants. 
         
Are you beginning to get the picture? In the first 171 
pages of this self serving paean, Loblaws appears on 40 
Of them. That is six of the seven chapters in the book. 
This kind of commercial proselytising trivialises not 
only this critically important subject, but Loblaws 
commendable policies in this area. 

Co-author Julia Mouldens role isn't clear in this, maybe 
she was bagging and carrying. It's difficult to believe 
that they spared a tree for this one. You should spare 
your pocket, and save your green, paper that is. 

In stark contrast, there is full value in:

Costing the Earth, The Challenge for Governments, the 
Opportunities for Business; by Frances Cairncross; 
Harvard Business School Press; 341 pages; price ???  ; 
hardcover.
         
Reason and logic permeate every page of this careful 
analysis of mankinds most vexatious problem. Thorough 
research enabled author Cairncross to raise questions, 
provides answers, and establish a basis for the pursuit 
of remedies. Along with the index, the reference section 
is annotated in detail [a blessing for those who wish to 
pursue the source of her quotes]. 
       
She examines in detail the necessity for intervention by 
government through regulation or taxation in company 
with the roles played by business and consumers. The 
result should create a chill in the boardroom, decimate 
the picket lines of the radical greens, and hopefully 
raise the possibility, no, probability, of a united world 
wide effort. 
        
Frances Cairncross comes to her subject with  
qualifications and a track record. Her jounalistic 
career concentrated primarily in business and economics 
culminated in her appointment as Environment editor of 
The Economist in 1989. An "easy to read" writer, her 
sense of humor is "sneaky quick" and you'll be smiling 
before you realize what did it. Thankfully, she avoids 
the buzzwords and "warm wet feelings" approach [popular 
with other writers on this subject] that would distract 
and detract from an intelligent assessment of the causes 
and effects shaping our future on the planet. 

There is much more to the subject and this book worth 
your attention. Costing the Earth is for those who won't 
settle for "sound bites", or mindless chanting of 
simplistic slogans. This book is for people who care to 
be part of the solution. 
         
Get it.


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