Global business and the environment, 1988-1992. Voluntary commitments, green management and labels

Managing the environment (1972-1992)
By Dominique Pestré

The attitude of most global business towards environmental issues changed around 1990. The article argues that these changes were new in two ways. Global corporations, through business organisations such as the International Chamber of Commerce, chose to position themselves at the heart of environmental defence. But they also sought to reject government-led forms of management and to promote the autonomy of partners engaging freely in contracts. This paper first details the way business organisations strategically organised this shift. It then considers how environmental management, environmental audits and environmental marketing took shape. It closes with reflections on the form of hegemony this solution represents, and the alternative forms that appeared in parallel, notably in the United States, through the denial of climate change.

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