The Environmental Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits (by Creating Value within the Bounds of Private Property Rights)

Posted: 1 Feb 2010

See all articles by Pierre Desrochers

Pierre Desrochers

University of Toronto - Department of Geography; PERC - Property and Environment Research Center

Date Written: February 2010

Abstract

Proponents of corporate social responsibility (CSR) typically consider “business as usual” unsustainable. Building on historical evidence that long predates the modern environmental movement, the contrary case is made that the interplay of voluntary exchange, private property rights, and self-interest has generally resulted in the so-called “triple bottom line” (economic, social, and environmental) through more efficient use of materials and the continual creation of higher quality resources. However, because market processes continually eliminate less competitive firms and tend to concentrate business activities geographically, political pressure brought to bear by adversely affected vested interests often results in the creation of policies that cause greater environmental harm than would otherwise be evident. Environmental CSR proponents often misinterpret these government failures as market failures, and characteristically advocate policies that further distract firms from their core objective and resulting triple bottom line. The article concludes by arguing that the most promising path toward truly sustainable development lies in the unwavering pursuit of profitability within the bounds of well-defined and enforced private property rights.

Suggested Citation

Desrochers, Pierre, The Environmental Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits (by Creating Value within the Bounds of Private Property Rights) (February 2010). Industrial and Corporate Change, Vol. 19, Issue 1, pp. 161-204, 2010, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1544156 or http://dx.doi.org/dtp046

Pierre Desrochers (Contact Author)

University of Toronto - Department of Geography ( email )

Mississauga, Ontario
Canada
(905) 828-5206 (Phone)
(905) 828-5273 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://eratos.erin.utoronto.ca/desrochers/

PERC - Property and Environment Research Center

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Suite A
Bozeman, MT 59718
United States

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