Britain urged to renounce "green voluntarism"

Government must not shy away from imposing further regulation on business, says NGO

The UK government has come under fire from one of its senior environmental advisors for being too ready to accept a "voluntarist" corporate sustainability agenda and too unwilling to impose measures on business where these are necessary. Broader and tougher regulatory and fiscal intervention is needed, says the chairman of the UK's sustainable development commission, Jonathon Porritt.

In a report published by NGO Forum for the future, Mr Porritt and journalist Roger Cowe argue that the triple bottom line approach, under which business self-interest is seen as a key driver for sustainability, has strict limits to its effectiveness. Very often, they argue, companies' environmental, social and financial priorities in fact conflict. In these cases shareholders' short-term interests generally prevail.

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