CAN ECO·BUSINESS PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT
In a 'Sustainable' society there should not be any particular business called 'cco-husinexs'.hut all human endeavours should he ceo-friendly. Since converuionul approaches to achievesustainahility through command and control mechanism have failed. world i~ nowheginning to adopt more voluntary approaches that are generally skewed towards economicinstruments. Eco-busincsx is one of the major strategies that harnesses the economic powerthestrength of investors. consumers. husiness and the market place. to create anenvironmentally rcsponsihlc and socially just society
Though this concept is believed to have a lot of advantages. there is a danger that it can hemanipulated hy extremists. both environmentalists and developers. to achieve their strategicgoals. On one hand. environmentalists may follow an extreme ccocentric approach andexpect ceo-business to he absolutely free from environmental impacts, which may not heeconomically viable. On the other hand. industrialists may fall in line or have some linkwith the green perspective in order to derive a strategic advantage. But. in effect. such astrategy may become questionable since their participation is not on genuine grounds. Boththese may lead to the collapse of the concept.
The challenge of the promotion of ceo-business is to identify ways and means that render itsown sustainahility without falling into the extreme non-viable ends. This becomes difficultsince the problem of clarifying the margins of environmentally-friendly goods and servicesIS yet unsolved. Furthermore. in the case of Sri Lanka. there is no sound institutionalframework that can absorb ceo-business to the existing economic system.
This paper attempts to present a precise definition of ceo-business and investigate the use ofthe ceo-business concept as a pragmatic approach to protect the environment throughpromoting ceo-business capable of bringing about a balance between the two competingforces. viz.. the industrialist's relentless pursuit to maximize profits as against thepreservation of the natural environment. It also discusses the extent to which the ceobu-iucs« concept is applicable to Sri Lanka. and the loopholes that exist in the existingregulating mechanisms. Finally. it presents a framework for implementation.
The paper claims that the introduction of 'student-owned and operated companies' (in theschool system) is an effective means of promoting the 'Environmentally-friendly Business'concept in Sri Lanka. A step-by-step /IIOe/IIS operendi of the student-owned companies i~presented in order 10 test the framework. Market potential of ceo-products. particularly theconsumer preference is presented based on data derived from a sample survey