Chris Wood: roads paved with good intentions

Voluntary business sustainability standards are tricky things, as Chris Wood found when he examined report cards on their applications to agriculture and Walmart. Another tricky thing? The vigilance of shoppers. AKA us.

An excerpt of his new Natural Security column:

chris1Ronald Reagan, in a lucid moment, famously characterized his approach to nuclear negotiations with the Soviet Union as: “Trust — and verify.” Much the same, it turns out, might be said for the green boasts of business. If we’re honest about it, most of what threatens our natural security is the result of our own appetites. Boreal forests are turned into tar pits to push our comfort pods from driveway to the mall. Mountains are crushed to expose the copper and rarer metals that ignite the digital fire in our smartphones. Rivers are emptied to grow our out-of-season salad. But what if we could have our smart-phones and February salads and cars without any of that destruction?