The Ecology of Commerce

Paul Hawken

The Ecology of Commerce



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In The Ecology of Commerce, Paul Hawken discusses the relationship between ecology and business, and highlights the importance of developing a completely different approach to the way we work. Companies can no longer continue to consume the planet’s resources, and we have to start acting consciously and ethically, finding new ways to respect people and the environment.

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Analysis and key concepts


Entrepreneurs need to realise that it is both harmful and out-dated to ignore the effects of their business on the environment


Growth theory is environmentally destructive and ignores the needs of future generations


Industry is too focused on managing the waste it produces, while avoiding the bigger issue of how the waste is generated in the first place


Big industry uses the issue of ecology to prove their environmental commitment and to project a politically correct image


The green economy approach combines industrial production with environmental sustainability


As ordinary citizens, we need to make better choices and support a more ethical approach to the environment




Take-home message

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Many useful tips to:

  • Learn more about the relationship between ecology and business. 
  • Recognise the need to develop new ways of doing business. 
  • Gain awareness and start thinking more critically about our consumer habits and political choices.

Paul Hawken was born in California in 1946, and is an entrepreneur, environmentalist, and author. He is one of the leading voices in the environmental movement, and his work focuses on the relationship between ecology and business. Throughout his career, he has founded environmentally conscious companies, as well as Project Drawdown, a non-profit organisation that conducts research on global warming. Hawken has served on the boards of several major environmental organisations, including The Point Foundation and The Center for Plant Conservation. He has written eight books and numerous articles, and has appeared on some of America’s most popular TV programmes, including The Today Show and Talk of the Nation.

Publishing house:

Harper Business