By hook, crook or vision

The 1980s and early 1990s were a time, the world over, of increasingly stereotypical confrontations between industry and environmentalists.

Ecological considerations formed no part of industrial productive strategies, argued environmentalists. Industry treated the ecosystem as a vast self-replenishing raw material procurement facility, and as a convenient dumping site. Nonsense, thundered industry captains. They would not be blackmailed by bird-lovers; nothing could compromise profit-margins.

From the early 1990s began a time when this confrontation began to resolve itself. The factors that caused this turn of affairs were wide-ranging — civil society’s increasing experience of the effects of environmental abuse and refusal to countenance corporate denial; new management paradigms and practices that spoke of environmental efficiency as positive; shareholder pressures; and, most crucially, policy directions and regulatory measures by governments that forced industry to look for a clean-up act.

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