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SAVING THE EARTH--AND MAKING MONEY
May the gods of capitalism and common sense be praised!
Your article "Quick, save the ozone" (Science & Technology, May 17) concerning chlorofluorocarbon substitutes and the market leadership of Imperial Chemical Industries served to confirm a belief that I have about the ingenuity and innovation of our world's corporate community: There is nothing too great for common and committed minds to overcome. The recognition of the problem and the willingness to take long-term action serves to set ICI apart from the number of corporate behemoths that cling to old methods and means, in spite of themselves. The company is to be commended for taking a leadership role.
I also recognize that neither ICI, nor the other two chemical companies mentioned (DuPont and Elf Atochem), did this out of the "goodness of their corporate hearts." There was a true profit motive behind their efforts. Yet, it is the anticipation of the fervor for identifying the need and leading the change that should command our respect. Moveover, they have done "the impossible" in a time frame that would make most companies their size balk.
I have worked with corporations from dozens of industries, most recently and intensively within chemicals and pharmaceuticals. The global corporate community does have a responsibility to itself, its member corporate states, society at large, and most important, to the earth that hosts us all.
Jonathan P. Kirchner