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It sounds so lovely: Companies rescue our put-upon planet by making their operations environmentally sound and offering green products. And they get rich as consumers reward them for this virtuous behavior. There is even a ready-made phrase for it, “doing well by doing good,” which no doubt has been reduced to the acronym DWBDG in many corporate memos.
The catch, to judge by research we’ll get to in a moment, is that consumers won’t necessarily be eager to play along.