Eco-Advantage Blog

September 15, 2006 | Andrew Winston | Jump to: Comments (1) | Post A Comment

Environment and Green Business: Crisis and Opportunity?

Sometimes popular wisdom is not quite based in reality, but is still wise.
First example: Pundits far and wide will state unequivocally that the Chinese character for crisis contains the symbols for both ‘danger’ and ‘opportunity.’ As it turns out, Chinese language experts tell us that this interpretation is not really true.

But like all useful fictions, it sticks.

And for a more specific example: Many thinkers on “green business” have ascribed the following statement to the Economist magazine: “For far sighted companies, the environment may turn out to be the biggest opportunity for enterprise and invention the industrial world has ever seen.” We can’t find the actual article so it may not have been said (or is buried in a way that even Lexis-Nexis can’t find)…but it should have been. It’s true nonetheless.

In the green business realm, the dangers (crises) are all too real, but so are the opportunities for innovation. It’s the latter truth that more and more companies are waking up to. I hope that this site—and the book—provides some guidance to help readers avoid the many pitfalls on the road from green to gold.




On September 15, 2006, Joel Makower said:

The Economist quote you mention isn’t from the magazine, but from one of its writers, Frances Cairncross, in her book. The official bibliographic citation is:

Cairncross, F. 1992. Costing the earth: The challenge for governments, the opportunities for business. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.


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