EcoCommerce creates a market signal for the environment and setting the stage for a new economy
EcoCommerce 101 is a melding of economic and ecological principles to create ecocommerce. It is written in novel form to describe the conundrum a farmer, forest, or land manager faces in today's world; everyone wants environmental goods, but few are willing or able to pay for them. The solution resided in Adam Smith's 18th century classic, The Wealth of Nations. We must return to basic economic principles, those of self-interest, coins, prices and the market marvel. From this base we can rebuild the economy with a new dimension.
Oikos, derived from the Greek word meaning house, is the root word for both “ecology” and “economy.” Ecology, from Greek oikos and logy (the study of) is defined as the scientific study of the distribution and abundance of resources and the interaction between organisms and their natural world. Economy, from Greek oikos and nomos, is defined as the study of how humans use, supply and distribute the resources that are available to them (Harper 2008). Ecological and economical systems have functional similarities and are linked in ways that humanity must understand. It is for this reason that ecologists and economists have much incentive for interaction (Levin 2006). Both systems operate by the consumption of energy and the transfer and transformation of nutrients (in the natural economy) and currency (in the man-made economy). The realm of our economic house today does not include the values associated with our ecological house. Simply put, today’s economy does not apply a price to ecological services even though they have economic value. Expanding our economic house to include our ecological house is the essence of EcoCommerce. To state in a more far-reaching fashion, one could quote Ray Anderson, CEO of Interface, “The economy is the wholly owned subsidiary of nature, not the other way around” (Senge 2008, 103). In other words, the economy is the subset system of the two systems and the economical house resides within the ecological house.