Building sustainability into your business model is a choice driven by the personal beliefs and values of entrepreneurs and managers.
The book was not the right place for a lengthy discussion on ethics, globalization, justice, or human rights.
Where appropriate, the book directs you to resources that I believe are appropriate and relevant to these underlying issues. I try not lecture about capitalism versus communitarianism or even take a specfic stance on whether sustainable business models are a good thing. My goal is simply to provide the framework and direction for you to consider how sustainability does, or does not, fit into your business model.
Throughout Chapter 15, I use the words “ecology” and “ecological” to refer to the natural environment in the broadest sense. The word “environment” in business often refers to the industry or general business environment, which could be confusing. I will not attempt to define “ecology” or establish a unit of analysis (local, regional, national, global) for understanding impact on ecology. Similarly I will use phrases such as “social good” and “social benefit” to refer to a general improvement in human civilization. This is a far trickier definition; people might agree that pollution is probably bad but still have wildly different opinions on what is good for human civilization. I am not going to indulge in comparative ethics or cultural relativism. Any effort to specify social sustainability in this context would imprint my own values and beliefs. Readers can, and should apply their own values to the challenge of making the world a better place, while acknowledging that there are many different opinions and few absolutes.