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Cahier n°8 - Novembre 2014

Les cahiers de la Chaire EGE, 2014, n°8


Alexandre Rambaud : chercheur associé, Université Paris-Dauphine
Olivier Charpateau : Maître de conférences, Université Paris-Dauphine




Taking the existence value seriously: new ways for firms to grasp sustainable development

The problem of inter-generational preservation and management of socio-environmental entities, like biodiversity, and so, the valuation of these entities for their own sake, is a central issue for sustainability. The ecocentric approach of Sustainable Development (SD) tackles this problematic by introducing the ethical concept of “intrinsic value” of an entity, which rests upon the question “should we treat this entity as an end in itself ?”. Besides, the orthodox conceptualization of SD, notably based on neoclassical economics, “translates” this intrinsic value into the economic notion of “existence value” of an entity. This value stems from the idea that individuals can have a benefit from “the mere knowledge that [this entity] is preserved or continues to exist” (in (Krutilla, 1967)), independently of any use of it. Existence value is also a part of the Total Economic Value (cf (D. W. Pearce, Markandya, & Barbier, 1989)) and, as notably argued by M. S. Common, R. K. Blamey and T. W. Norton, “existence value […] is particularly […] relevant to sustainability questions. [… Of the values of Total Economic Value], only existence value aligns directly with this concern” (in (Common, Blamey, & Norton, 1993)). In these conditions, in the first part of this talk, I will present the main arguments which make the existence value an essential ingredient of the orthodox approach of SD. I will then discuss the relevance to integrate this type of value into firms, notably into corporate accounting. I will stress the conceptual, economic and accounting issues raised by this incorporation, especially those related to the assessment of existence value. Indeed, existence value cannot be estimated on a market: only Contingent Valuations are able to reveal it, but this technique poses a problem of reliability. Now, SD is usually divided into three orientations ((Gladwin, Kennelly, & Krause, 1995), (Stubbs & Cocklin, 2008) or (Clifton, 2010)): an orthodox one, an ecocentric one and what we can call a Third Way, named the sustaincentric, reformist or ecological one, often described as the genuine sustainable approach. Thus, from the problematics raised in the first part, I will propose in a second part another approach to existence value and its integration into firms, in line with the third orientation of SD. In order to take the existence value seriously, this re-conceptualization will notably require a real ontological reflection in a Latourian way (Latour, 1999).

How a clear definition of ethics can improve ethical decision model: an application to the sensemaking-intuition model (SIM)

The aim of the paper is to scrutinize how a strong definition of ethics based on philosophical literature review is an indispensable a strong basement for new development of ethical behavior theory. We point out that ethic is a personal decision process based on a personal perception of what is good or not. The ethical values presented by the different philosophical authors can’t be compared owing to their dogmatically characteristics. There is not one international common ethics. It implies to implement this observation in the different ways of creating ethical decision processes models. We then applied the methodology to the Sense-making-Intuition Model of Sonenshein, based on a critical approach the rational ones. In this model, sensemaking for the ethical issue construction and the intuitive process of decision represent the central articulations of ethical decision process. We demonstrate that a sharp definition of ethics will introduce new parameters influencing inputs, outputs and some internal interactions. It permits some theoretical connection with previous paradoxal results and peripherical theories. We then propose some modification of the Sonenshein’s model and suggest orientations for future researches.