There may not be a single large-scale industry or multi-national corporation on Earth that is genuinely profitable if they had to account for their ecological impact. A recent UN-supported report shows that the world's 3,000 largest publicly-traded companies alone caused US$2.15 trillion (€2 trillion) of environmental damage in 2008, that the total cost is much higher, and that companies and communities downstream in the global supply chain are at risk from the environmental impacts.
For centuries, businesses have cheated on this accounting by calling ecological impacts "externalities," presumably not effecting the business. Thus, air and water pollution, toxins in the environment, or eradicated species were deemed "external" and not worth accounting for.
We now know that these ecological... Read more >