“Eco-Business: A Big-Brand Takeover of Sustainability”
November 7, 1963
Dr. Peter Dauvergne, Director of the Liu Institute for Global Issues at the University of British Columbia, delivered a captivating and informative lecture to the guests of the Marcus Orr Center for the Humanities on the topic of how big-name businesses advertise their products as “eco-friendly” in an attempt to market to a greater number of unaware customers. The lecture took place on Thursday evening, November 7, at the University of Memphis University Center Theatre.
Dr. Dauvergne began by pointing out how on the surface, the products promoted by these companies appear enticing. Governments and advocacy groups are eagerly partnering to lend the companies credibility. Yet, as Dr. Dauvergne revealed, big-brand sustainability with government backing is actually creating new and perhaps even greater exposing greater dangers for people and the planet. In a compelling account rich, with intriguing evidence, and important warnings, he demonstrated how brand companies are taking over and turning the concept of sustainability and "eco-business" into a tool to enhance corporate control and growth, as well as enhancing corporate responsibility. In a global economy, fraught with volatility and risks, eco-business is proving highly valuable for business, but can fundamentally limit the potential for deeper solutions– ones that challenge and transform rather than reinforce and legitimize mass retail and discount consumerism.
In his talk, Dr. Dauvergne pointed out how some companies advertise that their products will be less harsh on the environment than a competing company. However, it turns out that sometimes all they are doing is simply packaging their goods more compactly, and thereby, using less packaging material to transport their products. This way, not only do they portray a false sense of environmental awareness to the consumers, but also save largely on transportation and packaging costs. He emphasized that recent book explains the tactics used by these big businesses to convince the general public that their products are friendlier to the environment. Through these tactics, new booming businesses are able to establish notably respectable names for themselves within a very short period of existence.