Chapter 7 - The Sociology of Sustainable Development

51 a case study of pulp and paper manufacturing based

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Unformatted text preview: er words, may work well within the capitalist logic. Buttel qualifies this argument: Although we can, of course, exaggerate the extent to which capital can be expected to embrace industrial ecology and related forms of capitalist environmentalism, it must be kept in mind that one feature of capitalist competition is that efficiency in the use of resources and even in the minimization of the waste stream can be means for capitalists to reduce their THE SOCIOLOGY OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT 231 costs. This logic may be particularly strong if state policies are structured so as to penalize privately caused pollution or resources destruction.51 A case study of pulp and paper manufacturing based on Sonnenfeld’s work in Southeast Asia shows ecological modernization in practice as well as the social processes by which corporate change takes place.52 Sonnenfeld summarizes objectives that can be used to gauge materially whether production is proceeding according to ecological modernization principles: “in the shortterm, waste reduction and elimination, resource recovery and reuse, and dematerialisation; in the long-term, resource conservation and clean production.”53 Pulp and paper manufacturing is criticized from an environmental standpoint because the industry uses chlorine in its processes, which releases dioxin, a toxin. In Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand, manufacturing has been cleaned up. One of the main ways that improvements occurred was through the adoption of “green” technological innovations. Though these improvements came about in a “voluntary” fashion, a number of social actors pressured the manufacturers for change. Sonnenfeld summarizes the process by which environmental technologies were adopted: The core dynamics of adoption of environmental technologies . . . include [an] original “landmark” conflict [in one case he examines, it is a chemical spill]; the establishment of new standards/levels of expectations for industry environmental performance; the encour...
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This note was uploaded on 10/25/2010 for the course SOSCI INBA6610 taught by Professor Prescott during the Fall '08 term at University of the West Indies at St. Augustine.

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