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Ecological economics, sustainable development, and environmental justice.

1. Introduction

Li and Cai show how green marketing influences the sustainable development of garment industry, analyzing the cost and profit to implement green marketing, both in a short term (the cost may increase) and in the long run (the income will overweigh the cost). Dahlgaard et al. holds that to realize the TQM vision, firms must first set up a system for the continuous measurement, collection and reporting of quality facts. Burkett contends that Marx's analysis highlights the contradiction between capitalism's reduction of value to abstract labour time and nature's contribution to wealth production.

2. The Sustainable Development of Garment Industry and the Implementation of the TQM Process

Li and Cai claim that implementing green marketing is pivotal to the sustainable development of garment industry, and identify five reasons: reduced cost, expanding export by broking down green barriers, establishing the enterprise's green image, being more competitive and avoiding green tax. Green marketing includes product modification, changes to the production process, packaging changes, as well as modifying advertising. Sustainable development means satisfying the contemporary needs without sacrificing the future generations' benefit. The sustainable development of garment industry requires their enterprises to pay more attention to the long-time prosperity. Li and Cai argue that enterprises marketing goods with environmental characteristics will have a competitive advantage over enterprises marketing non-environmentally responsible alternatives. Green product is a dispensable part of green marketing, referring to product that does not contain harmful component itself (it also has no pollution to the environment during its production). Green marketing consists of all activities designed to generate and facilitate any exchanges intended to satisfy human needs or wants. (1)

Dahlgaard et al. say that TQM is a vision which the firm can only achieve through long-term planning. More and more firms are coming to realize that TQM is necessary just to survive. The aim of the new concept of TQM is to ensure that history does not repeat itself. The annual quality audit is an essential part of the TQM vision. Management and employees must be aware of, and deal with, the many defects/problems in the internal processes and with their causes. European companies have a long way to go before the TQM vision becomes a reality. A basic point behind the creation of customer satisfaction is leadership (basic aspect of leadership is the ability to deal with the future). Leadership is a necessary condition for TQM. The aim of TQM leadership is to build the TQM pyramid. Clear leadership and vision are the most important critical success factors of TQM. Job rotation is a necessary condition for implementing TQM. The implementation of the TQM process is one of the most complex activities that a company can undertake (it requires cultural change for everybody). Dahlgaard et al. insist that continuous improvements require leadership which is the foundation of TQM. The best way of overcoming the organizational quality problem is through the practice of TQM. The level of quality will be improved by investing in the so-called quality management costs. (3)

3. Marx's Ecological Criticisms of Capitalist Economy

Burkett undertake the first general assessment of ecological economics from a Marxist point of view, shows how Marxist political economy can make a substantial contribution to ecological economics, and develops the potential contribution of Marxism to ecological economics in terms of four fundamental issues: (i) the relations between nature and economic value; (ii) the treatment of nature as capital; (iii) the significance of the entropy law for economic systems; (iv) the concept of sustainable development. Ecological economics is multidisciplinary, has a strong commitment to methodological pluralism, and must be historically open in the sense of being receptive to new visions and possibilities in the realms of economic policy and institutional change. Burkett shows how Marxism reveals and helps resolve "important contradictions, analytical silences, and unanswered questions present in ecological economics." the lack of effective communication between Marxists and ecological economists has both long-term historical and short-term conjunctural roots. Marx's analysis of labour-exploitation is developed in terms of the category surplus-value. Real wealth or use-value is anything that satisfies human needs, whereas value is the specific social representation of use-value under capitalism. Value relations, including the various tensions between use-value and exchange-value, should be analyzed in terms of capitalism's specific relations of production. As far as real wealth or use-value is concerned, nature and labour are of co-equal importance. Capitalism reduces economic value to a specific social substance: abstract labour time.

Burkett maintains that Marx does not deny the natural basis of either the surplus product or surplus-value. Marx refers to the natural conditions of production as "gifts" of nature. The free appropriation of nature's gifts is a key factor in capitalist development. Individual exchange-values can incorporate surplus profits from the appropriation of scarce natural conditions. Ecological economists do not root the question of nature's value in capitalism's basic relations of production. Capitalism's social separation of workers and their communities from the land and other necessary conditions of production has something to do with ecological crisis. The market system does not take absolute scarcity into account. Marx criticises physiocracy's identification of value with nature's material use-value. The regulation of social production by the market is based on the separation of producers from necessary production conditions. The dominant position of commodity exchange and monetary valuation in resource allocation is an outgrowth of the dominant position of the wagelabour relation in the system of production. Burkett asserts that neoclassical theory treats all unpriced costs of market activity as special exceptions to the presumptive efficiency of the market system. All environmental stakeholders and their values should be given a fair hearing. The consensus behavioral standards must involve individual user rights and responsibilities vis-a-vis natural resources. The producers' alienation from natural conditions constantly evolves with its material-social basis (i.e. the capitalist development of industry). Marxism highlights the material basis of pro-ecological struggles in the structural contradiction between the conditions required and produced by capital accumulation, and the natural conditions required for a sustainable and healthy human development. The conditions required by human production and development are part of an overall process in which use-value is subsumed under, and becomes a means of, the class-exploitative and competitive process of value accumulation. The Marxist vision provides a practical contribution to the methodological pluralism and policy openness of ecological economics.

Burkett says that the strong sustainability approach does not relate the criticality of natural capital to the economy's relations of production. The strong sustainability theory has no social-relational conception of capital or of production. Burkett writes that ecological economists have done more than neoclassicals to develop the conceptual underpinnings of natural capital. The constant total natural capital rule is not sufficient to sustain production. The ecological/ natural-capital hybrid is more neoclassical than ecological. Constant natural capital requires substitution of renewable for non-renewable natural capital. Investment as mere waiting is problematic for renewable natural capital. Multi-criteria evaluation provides a framework within which the different dimensions of nature's use-value can be openly compared. The environment is subsumed under the market and treated as private property. As Burkett puts it, Marxism sees mainstream "natural-capital" theory as an analytical reification of capitalism's alienation and exploitation of labour and nature. Capitalism does not convert all necessary conditions of production into commodities. Capitalism's material requirements include exploitable labour-power and conditions under which its labour can be objectified in saleable use-values (commodities). The crisis in the natural conditions of human development threatens the reproduction of capitalism with communist revolution. The Marxist perspective endogenizes human frames of reference on nature and sustainable development with respect to economic dynamics and struggles. Workers often struggle in ways that do not fundamentally question wage-labour and the capitalisation of nature. Marxism has a close kinship with the anti-natural-capital position within ecological economics. Burkett writes that Marxism overcomes the material-social dualism represented by the natural capital debate within ecological economics. The economy's production relations shape its relations of exchange and distribution. Capitalist production has an in-built tendency to overstretch its limited natural conditions. Competition presses individual firms to increase the productivity of their labour forces. Firms feel a competitive pressure to keep matter-energy throughput at or below the competitive norm. Individual firms may economise on particular resource-inputs as their prices rise. Ecological economists blame materialistic and consumerist values for the system's production. Any market economy in which production is motivated by profit must rely on growth. Materials-supply disturbances do not pose a serious threat to the reproduction of the system. (2)

4. Consumers' Purchase Behavior toward Green Products

Luck and Giyanti remark that society is increasingly sympathetic towards the environment, and aim to understand consumers' purchase behavior toward green products. Luck and Giyanti clarify the important determinants of green purchase behavior and provide useful insights for marketing practitioners who market green products, where they can incorporate the identified factors into their marketing, promotion and communication activity. Marketers must recognize the impact of post-modernism on changing consumer green preferences. Luck and Giyanti illustrate the use of automated content analysis software in the study of green blog sites. (4)

Zaman et al. identify the weakness of eco-label initiatives in the context of environmental justice and ecosystem support perspectives by comparing some selected eco and fair trade labels used in Sweden. Green marketing that has been previously focused on the ecological context has been shifted to more sustainability issues in the marketing efforts. Green marketing is now dealing with fair trade of socio-economical benefits as well as environmental responsibilities through the green business. Health and environmental concerns are major reasons why people become aware of eco-labeled products. compared to the fair trade products, the market exposure of eco-concerns has been greater and over a long time duration. (5) Polonsky et al. evaluate the degree of the adoption of green marketing across the marketing mix activities of the top firms listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) based on a content analysis of each corporation's web site and annual report. Firms seek to minimize the environmental harm produces throughout the value chain. It is important to tell consumers and other stakeholders what is being done. Greening is still seen as a tactical tool rather than a strategic one (the largest Australian corporations may need to go much further in integrating sustainability (6) across their entire marketing mix). (7)

5. Conclusions

Li and Cai observe that consumer's purchase tendency affects the development direction of the product directly. Dahlgaard et al. affirm that the level of quality will be improved by investing in the so-called quality management costs. Burkett points out that the reduction of the human environment to a substitutable resource is associated with the reduction of sustainable development to sustainable capital accumulation.


(1.) Li, H., and Cai, W. (2009), "Green Marketing and Sustainable Development of Garment Industry-A Game between Cost and Profit," International Journal of Business and Management 3(12): 81-85.

(2.) Dahlgaard, J.J. et al. (2007), Fundamentals of Total Quality Management--Process Analysis and Improvement. London-New York: Taylor and Francis, 15-220.

(3.) Burkett, P. (2006), Marxism and Ecological Economics toward a Red and Green Political Economy. Leiden-Boston: Brill, 11-172.

(4.) Luck, E., and Giyanti, A. (2009), "Green Marketing Communities and blogs: Mapping Consumer's Attitudes for Future Sustainable Marketing," paper at ANZMAC-Sustainable Management and Marketing Conference.

(5.) Zaman, A.U. et al. (2010), "Green Marketing or Green Wash? A Comparative Study of Consumers' Behavior on Selected Eco and Fair Trade Labeling in Sweden," Journal of Ecology and the Natural Environment 2(6): 104-111.

(6.) Ionescu, L. (2009), "Evaluating Internal Control Deficiencies," Economics, Management, and Financial Markets 4(4): 129-133.

(7.) Polonsky, M.J. et al. (2009), "Green Marketing in the Top Publicly Traded Australian Organizations," paper at ANZMAC-Sustainable Management and Marketing Conference.




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Author:Zaharia, Constantin; Zaharia, Ioana; Tudorescu, Nicolae
Publication:Economics, Management, and Financial Markets
Date:Jun 1, 2010
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