chapter  14
17 Pages

Profit in need? Business and sustainable development

ByNick Robins

Ours is a bewildering age. General Motors, one of the world’s largest makers of automobiles – by far the most environmentally damaging and lethal of mass consumer products – is now signed up to the landmark CERES principles of environmentally responsible behaviour, and pledged to the pursuit of sustainable mobility. Royal Dutch Shell and BP, who provide much of the gasoline that powers the car – and together generate climate-changing emissions from their facilities and products equal to those from a large European nation – have also won plaudits for their commitment to sustainable development and renewable energy. The mining industry that processes so much of the materials for the car and carries such a painful legacy of human and environmental exploitation – from colonial Latin America through apartheid Africa to the present day – has commissioned IIED to broker a process of analysis and dialogue to show how the sector can be placed on a sustainable trajectory.