By Laurence Schwesinger Berlie
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Extra info for Alliances for Sustainable Development: Business and NGO Partnerships
2 Changes in organisational characteristics The organisational characteristics of businesses and NGOs have changed. At the centre of this evolution is the way they position themselves with regard to environmental issues. Businesses have moved on from their denial of environmental problems in the 1960s and 1970s to recognising them. 38 Changes in attitudes have been due to the recognition of the role of the business sector in major ecological catastrophes: Seveso (1976), the Amoco Cadiz (1978), Three Mile Island (1979), Bhopal (1984), Chernobyl (1986), the Exxon Valdez (1989) and the Erika (1999), to mention a few.
The models developed by Hamel (1996), on the one hand, and Courtney and colleagues (1997), on the other hand, are particularly illustrative of the strategic positioning of partners. Gary Hamel (1996) defines three kinds of companies: the rule makers who build up an industrial sector, the rule takers who follow the rules defined by the rule makers and try to outdo them, and the rule breakers who choose to redefine the rules. Courtney, Kirkland and Viguerie (1997) agree with Hamel but from another angle.
63 Many factors hinder the setting up of corporate–NGO alliances: • The idea of the need to adopt management models which are more respectful of natural resources, although it is more widespread than previously, is still being questioned. Many companies still have not made sustainable development their battle horse (as shown by the United Nations report of 200264). • For most companies, their main responsibility remains ‘to make a profit’, as highlighted by many CEO quotes in the publication of the World Economic Forum (2005).