In a free market economy, producers of goods and services provide goods and services to consumers at the lowest possible prices. The concepts of supply and demand are at work here. In many cases, however, producers extract physical resources from the environment that can cause long-term damage to the environment, or they return harmful pollutants to the environment during or after production. Socially-responsible businesses adopt strategies that provide a balance between economic success and environmental sustainability/restoration. As businessman and author Paul Hawken said in his 1993 book, The Ecology of Commerce: “The ultimate purpose of business is not, or should not be, simply to make money. Nor is it merely a system of making and selling things. The promise of business is to increase the general well-being of humankind through service, a creative invention and ethical philosophy.” Hawken argues that businesses and policymakers need to work together to find an “ecological model of commerce” so that everything that is produced can be reclaimed, reused, or recycled. As business transactions increasingly move beyond local and national borders, companies must be careful to consider both the economic and ecologic effects of its activities on all stakeholders.
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