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The Ecology of Commerce Revised Edition: A Declaration of Sustainability

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  1,790 Ratings  ·  120 Reviews
“The first important book of the 21st century. It may well revolutionize the relationship between business and the environment.”
—Don Falk, Executive Director, Society for Ecological Restoration


The Ecology of Commerce is the provocative national bestseller that addresses the necessity of merging good business practices with common sense environmental concerns. Nearly two d
Paperback, 224 pages
Published October 26th 2010 by HarperBusiness (first published 1993)
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Rebecca McNutt
The idea of a truly sustainable international business in every sense of the word is something I don't think we'll be seeing anytime soon, simply because it isn't profitable and makes no real sense (other than a PR scheme) for a large corporate business to be concerned with. That being said, this book is more important than ever before, and makes some very good points. The way I see it, there's no such thing as leaving no carbon footprint if you're a business or even a single consumer, but there ...more
Kaelan (Κάϊλαν)
***** A Failed Declaration? *****

So Far, I have read three books that cover the topic of sustainability (broadly speaking), with the intention of reading many more. The first, Endgame: The Problem of Civilisation, was written by Derrick Jensen , and came in two separate parts - the second I have not read yet - that essentially suggested a "Post Civilisation" world in which us miserable Sapiens will have to consider a complete revolutionary style takedown of our out-of-control system of rampan
Mark Jones
Aug 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In this book, Mr. Hawken sets out to - as it says on the cover - demonstrate how business can save the world, and indeed, should. In order to accomplish this, he establishes a clear twelve-chapter plan in which he discusses the problems that we face, the nature of commerce and large businesses, and potential solutions, finally concluding in the magnificent crescendo that is the final chapter. This is a powerful, evocative book, engendering (and in my case, reinforcing) dark, cynical thoughts abo ...more
Nov 15, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Paul Hawken states:

If capitalism has one pervasive untruth, it is the delusion that business is an open, linear system: that through resource extraction and technology, growth is always possible, given sufficient capital and will (p. 32).

If this book has one main purpose, it is to imagine and describe the ways business can act that are restorative to society and the environment. Restoration is not a business term. But then, neither is degradation (p. 58).

Mr. Hawken not only allows me to imagine
Gerald Prokop
Jul 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
The fact that this book was written in 1992 and it's still not outdated secures my hopelessness for humanity. If it is possible to reconcile capitalism with ecology, this book offers a lot of insightful and well-reasoned ways to do it. I really appreciated how Hawken thinks within the languages of business and economics to describe ecological problems and propose solutions to the crisis our planet is in. My fear is that there is a built-in barrier at the very core of business, capital and econom ...more
Nov 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's a sad comment on our society that twenty years later Hawkin's dreams have not come to fruition and this book is not hopelessly outdated. Written shortly after my birth this book describes technology which existed at the time and still sounds incredibly futuristic to me. He describes ways to use all industrial byproducts as fresh materials for other industries and explains why in any case where this isn't possible we must find an alternative. Throwing away trash, indeed the entire concept of ...more
The Capital Institute
Paul Hawken, co-founder of Smith & Hawken, is an active environmentalist, entrepreneur and writer. In The Ecology of Commerce, Hawken proposes that businesses in the developed world reduce their consumption of energy and resources by 80 percent in the next 50 years. Hawken also says that business goals should include criteria such as whether or not the work is “aesthetically pleasing” or whether the employees are enjoying their work time. Hawken includes large corporations and small business ...more
Dec 07, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The beauty of this book is that I'm reading it towards the close of 2012 -- two decades after its original publishing -- and it's still relevant. That's also the sadness: the issues that Hawken describes are still issues today. In twenty years, our society still has not brought into symbiosis the divergent needs of ecology and commerce. Hawken's proposed solutions, along the lines of replacing negative economic incentives (taxes on income, profit, savings) with Pigouvian taxes and other sustaina ...more
Ed Arnold-berkovits
An outstanding book that is still very relevant today. Unfortunately, as in it's been 15 years and we're more or less in the same place ecologically. It was written in 1993-1994 after/during (I'm not sure exactly) the last big recession. So how about that, people need jobs and there's a chance for environmentally-sound ones that also will be economically sound. It's always about choices and making them with actual knowledge of the real costs.

The problem is, then-current and now-current business
Julian Sauma
Sep 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this long, long ago, when I was still a green youth in high school. I didn't know much about the world back then, but I knew things were not all right. This book clarified a lot for me and set me on an eco-minded path that I've never really deviated from. I remember reading this in the break room of my very first horrible wage job, locked in rapture, filled with hope; it's only a matter of time, I thought, until the lessons imparted here spread throughout the society, and the world. I was ...more
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Paul Hawken is the co-founder of several businesses, and lives in Sausalito, California.
More about Paul Hawken...
“if you look at the science about what is happening on earth and aren’t pessimistic, you don’t understand data. But if you meet the people who are working to restore this earth and the lives of the poor and you aren’t optimistic, you haven’t got a pulse.” 1 likes
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