Business ethics and the natural environment Essay

The purpose of this paper is to analyze the importance of planetary ethical concern duties in respect to the natural environment. The recent public dirts of corporate malfeasance have heightened this demand and organisation face legion ethical issues. Schemes such as codification of behavior, corporate societal duty ( CSR ) and sustainability can guild transnational corporations in this attempt. This paper will utilize different ethical theories from both eastern and western ideas to analyse why it is of import for organisation and its employees to act ethically in the planetary environment context. Those theories include Confucianism, Stakeholders ‘ theories, Universal Rights and Utilitarianism.

Last but non least, there are some bounds on this research: most findings are based on major corporations, the increasing power of corporations on international environmental policies, the function of authorities on environmental policies and the importance of public environmental consciousness. These restrictions should bright some attendings to future research workers.

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1 Religious positions on the environment

Although the Indian and Chinese Buddhist construct of the natural environment is different from Christianity and Islam, but “ fundamentally, and the Western tradition of Abraham Judaism, Christianity and Islam have created a position of the universe related to human-centred moralss. Because they view of the universe mostly anthropocentric, nature is considered to be a secondary presence. God Dragon at the top has reinforced this natural sense. “ Buddhism on the treatment of dealingss between adult male and nature is basically different from the old two faiths.

The environment is rich in Buddhist idea, here merely to speak about the Buddhist sort of biological equality and the thought of life.Buddhists believe that people melt in the nature, are portion of nature, and other biological position equivalent to other life signifiers, like people, should be to the full respected and attention. Because Buddhists believe that Buddha is the incarnation of goodness and virtuousness, and he ever mercy, the Merciful, the first based on his life and the value of certain characteristics.

“ Buddhist compassion of all living things from the wood workss, and so all the rivers and mountains, a rock of a wood, including those inanimate nature, are listed in the protection. ” Mortal existences on Earth are reciprocally connected, all things have a assortment of relationships between, love it objects to others is to love yourself.Buddhism does non acknowledge the adult male is vanquisher of the Earth, nor is it supernatural advanced existences, but all has the same being. It is the chase of harmoniousness between adult male and nature. All things are equal with my animals have Buddha nature of things, enjoy equal rights with others.

2.2 Economic point of position on the environment

Environmental sustainability is the on-going challenge to guarantee that current and future coevalss will hold equal natural resources to last and boom. Until the mid 1900s, there did non look to be many environmental restrictions on concern growing, but over the past half century scientii¬?c grounds of environmental debasement and the parts of concern activity to the diminution in environmental quality has become incontestable. In every industrialised state a complex regulative government establishes environmental criterions and regulations for beginnings of pollution.

Conformity with these regulations has yielded much advancement for control of the regulated pollutants. But the province of the natural environment continues to concern many people. Because of intractable local issues ( such as sufi¬?cient handiness of clean air and H2O ) , uncertainness about environmental impacts ( such as the unknown effects of long-run pesticide usage ) , and freshly discovered jobs of tremendous range ( such as planetary heating ) . As the Godheads of economic activity, i¬?rms are frequently the beginnings of environmental jobs, and they can besides be affected negatively by diminutions in environmental quality. Some organisations have made good environmental public presentation a precedence, anticipating to transcend legal demands by a big border. These progressive organisations have evolved in their strategic orientation about the natural environment. Post and Altman identii¬?ed a general developmental theoretical account of corporate “ greening ” in which organisations moved through three stages. The i¬?rst is an adjustment stage during which the organisation makes alterations in its current environmental procedures on an ad hoc footing in reaction to altering legal and market demands.

The 2nd is version to integrate environmental ends and policies beyond minimal demands to suit turning environmental consciousness. The 3rd stage is invention to go to the full proactive in commiting environmental direction in all concern determinations. Their developmental theoretical account is rei¬‚ected in Hart ‘s description of the three specii¬?c attacks that i¬?rms have demonstrated in covering with environmental issues-that is, a focal point on pollution bar in the 1970s, to the merchandise stewardship attack in the 1980s, and so to sustainable development get downing in the 1990s. Harmonizing to Hart, these orientations are cumulative in that merchandise stewardship requires effectual pollution bar, and sustainable development incorporates pollution bar and merchandise stewardship in add-on to its higher degree of environmental committedness. Empirical research has coni¬?rmed that i¬?rms that are strategically proactive are besides advanced in integrating better and more comprehensive environmental activities into their operations.

3.0 Ethical theories


1 Eastern ideas on environmental issues

Confucianism advocates that regard of all lives, the Torahs of nature and advance the harmoniousness between adult male and nature, in order to keep friendly and harmonious economical development as the highest moral intent. “ Harmony ” requires concern to protect the natural environment and develop sustainable schemes in its operation.There are several ways that endeavors can beef up its professional moralss, societal duty. First, endeavors should set up a right mentality on sustainable development which means that the demands of future coevalss will non be compromised. Second, endeavors should pay more attending to environmental issues, the bravery to shoulder societal duty and historic mission, adhere to the national involvements. Furthermore, houses should actively take part in assorted “ green ” activities and community activities.

Capital addition is a power built-in spirit of capitalist economy that derived from Weber ‘s Protestant moral principle. Daniel Bell said that Weber ‘s Protestant Ethic and the general period of capital accretion in the capitalist development of productive forces has been an of import religious power. With the weakening of spiritual power, the development of secularisation and the growing of capitalist economy, stuff wealth, “ Puritan restraint and the Protestant moral principle ” will control the “ economic urge to any act ” . In add-on, the development of capitalist production, it requires out of Puritan restraint, abandon the Protestant moral principle.

In other words, the capitalist impulse endless net incomes will be progressively hard for the inner and spiritual sense of “ career ” as it no longer trust on the ultimate significance of life activities. “ When the Protestant moral principle, after being abandoned by a capitalist society, and the remainder will merely hedonism, ” and wholly secularized capitalist society, non go forth “ God ” in the name of activity to be profitable for the all-pervasive. “ Kejin career ” of the category defence, “ the cultural justification of capitalist economy ( if non a moral legitimacy of the words ) has been replaced by the hedonism, that is happy for life.

” Therefore, the disaffection between adult male and nature, human and societal disaffection, adult male and God disaffection are the “ ternary disaffection of modern adult male ” in the offing.A Although the debut of “ entire quality direction ” in modern concern that contains the spirit of environmental moralss, the moral dimension is unreasonable and the happening of non-environmental moral behaviour is unable to utilize moral linguistic communication to the appropriate understanding merchandise liability and the demand for environmental protection “ . There are some grounds behind this state of affairs. First, produce moral forgetfulness ; Second, the narrow apprehension of moral constructs as corporate directors tend to avoid speaking about morality issues, the manner they treat these issues as non-moral issues ; 3rd, to convey force per unit area on directors – can non be more balanced, more unfastened look of the moral ( moral talk will so increase moral force per unit area ) ; Fourth, against the moral norms can take to the production of silence, in bend, ignore the outgrowth of a moral civilization ; Fifth, the diminution in moral criterions – entire quality direction in the continued presence of moral silence those who insist on ethical criterions into the quality demands of the people may hold ironically, frequently because of moral criterions as external intercession.Enterprise is a member of societal community, so that it is bound to a moral duty to protect environment. In add-on, the combination of economic activities and environmental protection can be profitable.

Donaldson and Dunfee who by and large support the position that every society there is an inexplicit societal contract which contains “ macro ” contract, reflecting the rational members of a community understanding between the hypothesis ; “ bing ” or “ micro ” contract, reflecting a common organic structure of an existent contract, which we normally call the province ought to province contracts, and the Real of the contract. For endeavors, should be contingent contract is the authorities, society, public outlooks of economic activities of endeavors or the said societal duty: Such as CSR wide and narrow sense, wide sense of societal duty that including fiscal duty, liability, charitable duty and ethical duty. Stephen P. Robbins defines it as “ more than legal and economic demands, the company is seeking a favourable long-run end of societal responsibilities.

A Specifically, companies have to bear the moral duty of the external environment. On the one manus, the endeavor as a community as a member of the organic structure, and society, there is an built-in permanent “ contract. ” In the societal community, it enjoyed the development and usage of environmental resources, rights, and must bear the duties as members of the Community environmental protection, which is the basic regulations of contract. Achilles B. Carol said that “ the right to set forward a responsible relationship is the foundation of corporate societal duty. ” Keith Davis besides holds the same positions, he believes that due to corporate societal duty, the right should bear the corresponding duties ; in the long tally, who can non be considered a societal responsible attitude to exert their rights, whoever will lose the right, which is the “ duty of the Fe jurisprudence. ” There is no resource ingestion and environmental support, a minute of economic activities of endeavors can non go on.

On the other manus, an act of societal endeavors as chief organic structure, is running in the societal environment, like any natural individual must adhere to the regulations of the system, concerns are “ legal individuals ” must follow with authorities and industry to develop a assortment of relevant legal, institutional, rules, policies and concern pattern. However, the environment is ever really nonreversible system, can non show all the demands of society, the environment does non be or the system is non wholly the duty of corporate moralss. Since the twentieth century, sustainable development is considered as most of the state ‘s economic development theoretical account, environmental protection is integrated into the societal development ends and economic policies, which required concern activities promote the sound development of the environment, that is to take sensible environmental direction behaviour. At present, due to crisp rise in green demand, environmental motion growth, the authorities ordinance of concerns are going progressively restrictive. Governments in the development of Torahs, policies and counsel are aimed at coercing companies to be environmentally friendly. Pressure force in such a system, the concern directors in order to avoid misdemeanor of Torahs, policies, hazards, even if the subjective or non, but it besides must be taken in the aim of environmental direction behaviour. Such as concern to run into the societal and legal demands, forced to take environmental costs, purchase and operation of environmental protection equipment, development and purchase of non-polluting engineering.

The system can to the full follow with the demands of the environment non merely reflects the concern to win jurisprudence suits, and a trial of the moral spirit.3.1 Western ideas on environmental issues

3.1.1 Stakeholder theory

Stakeholders ‘ theories focus on the ethical demands that cement the relationship between concern and society. The chief rule is to make the right thing in order to accomplish a good society.

There are several chief attacks we can separate the followers. First, normative stakeholder theory advocates that direction is a manner to incorporate societal demands. Freeman besides mentined that ”managers own a i¬?duciary relationship to stakeholders ” ( Freeman, 1984 ) . Precisely, Donaldson and Preston ( 1995, p. 67 ) held that the stakeholder theory has a normative nucleus based on two major thoughts: stakeholders are individuals or groups with legitimate involvements in procedural and/or substantial facets of corporate activity ( stakeholders are identii¬?ed by their involvements in the corporation, whether or non the corporation has any corresponding functional involvement in them ) and the involvements of all stakeholders are of intrinsic value ( that is, each group of stakeholders virtues consideration for its ain interest and non simply because of its ability to foster the involvements of some other group, such as the stockholders ) . Following this theory, a socially responsible i¬?rm requires coincident attending to the legitimate involvements of all appropriate stakeholders and has to equilibrate such a multiplicity of involvements and non merely the involvements of the i¬?rm ‘s shareholders. Supporters of normative stakeholder theory have attempted to warrant it through statements taken from Kantian capitalist economy ( Bowie, 1991 ; Evan andFreeman, 1988 ) , modern theories of belongings and distributive justness ( Donaldson and Preston, 1995 ) , and besides Libertarian theories with its impressions of freedom, rights and consent ( Freeman and Philips, 2002 ) .A generic preparation of stakeholder theory is non sufi¬?cient.

In order to indicate out how corporations have to be governed and how directors ought to move, a normative nucleus of ethical rules is required ( Freeman, 1994 ) . To this terminal, different bookmans have proposed differing normative ethical theories. Free-man and Evan ( 1990 ) introduced Rawlsian rules. Bowie ( 1998 ) proposed a combination of Kantian and Rawlsian evidences. Freeman ( 1994 ) proposed the philosophy of just contracts and Phillip ( 1997, 2003 ) suggested presenting the equity rule based on six of Rawls ‘ features of the rule of just drama: common benei¬?t, justness, cooperation, sacrii¬?ce, free-rider possibility and voluntary credence of the benei¬?ts of concerted strategies Recently, Freeman and Philips ( 2002 ) have presented six rules for the counsel of stakeholder theory by uniting Libertarian constructs and the Fairnes rule. Some bookmans ( Burton and Dunn, 1996 Wicks et al. , 1994 ) proposed alternatively utilizing a ”feminist moralss ” attack. Donaldson and Dunfee ( 1999 ) hold their ‘Integrative Social Contract Theory ‘ .

Argandona ( 1998 ) suggested the common good impression and Wijnberg ( 2000 ) an Aristotelean attack. Stakeholder normative theory has suffered critical deformations and friendly misunderstandings, which Freeman and colleagues are seeking to clear up ( Phillips et al. , 2003 ) . In pattern, this theory has been applied to a assortment of concern i¬?elds, including stakeholder direction for the concern and society relationship. In short, stakeholder attack grounded in ethical theories presents a different position on CSR, in which moralss is cardinal.


2 Universal rights

Human rights have been taken as a footing for CSR, particularly in the planetary market topographic point ( Cassel, 2001 ) . In recent old ages, some human-rights-based attacks for corporate duty have been proposed. One of them is the UN Global Compact, which includes nine rules in the countries of human rights, labour and the environment. It was i¬?rst presented by the United Nations Secretary- General Koi¬? Annan in an reference to TheWorld Economic Forum in 1999. In 2000 the Global Compact ‘s operational stage was launched at UN Headquarters in New York.

Many companies have since adopted it. Another, antecedently presented and updated in 1999, is The Global Sullivan Principles, which has the aim of back uping economic, societal and political justness by companies where they do concern. The certii¬?cation SA8000( ) for accreditation of societal duty is besides based on human and labour rights. Despite utilizing different attacks, all are based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations general assembly in 1948 and on other international declarations of human rights, labour rights and environmental protection.

Although for many people cosmopolitan rights are a inquiry of mere consensus, they have a theoretical foundation, and some moral doctrine theories give them support ( Donnelly, 1985 ) . It is deserving adverting the Natural Law tradition ( Simon, 1992 ) , which defends the being of natural human rights ( Maritain, 1971 ) . Sustainable development Another values-based construct, which has become popular, is ”sustainable development ” . Although this attack was developed at macro degree instead than corporate degree, it demands a relevant corporate part. The term came into widespread usage in 1987, when the World Commission on Environment and Development ( United Nations ) published a study known as ”Brutland Report ” . This study stated that ”sustainable development ” seeks to run into the demands of the present without compromising the ability to run into the hereafter coevals to run into their ain demands ” ( World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987, p. 8 ) .

Although this study originally merely included the environmental factor, the construct of ”sustainable development ” has since expanded to include the consideration of the societal dimension as being inseparable from development. In the words of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development ( 2000, p. 2 ) , sustainable development ”requires the integrating of societal, environmental, and economic considerations to do balanced judgements for the long term ” . Numerous dei¬?nitions have been proposed for sustainable development ( see a reappraisal in Gladwin and Kennelly 1995, p.

877 ) . In malice of which, a content analysis of the chief dei¬?nitions suggests that sustainable development is ”a procedure of accomplishinghuman development in an inclusive, connected, equiparable, prudent and unafraid mode. ” ( Gladwin and Kennelly 1995, p. 876 ) . The job comes when the corporation has to develop the procedures and implement schemes to run into the corporate challenge of corporate sustainable development.

As Wheeler et Al. ( 2003, p. 17 ) have stated, sustainability is ”an ideal toward which society and concern can continually endeavor, the manner we strive is by making value, making results that are consistent with the ideal of sustainability along societal environmental and economic dimensions ” . However, some suggestions have been proposed to accomplish corporate ecological sustainability ( Shrivastava, 1995 ; Stead and Stead, 2000 ; among others ) . A matter-of-fact proposal is to widen the traditional ”bottom line ” accounting, which shows overall net proi¬?tability, to a ”triple underside line ” that would include economic, societal and environmental facets of corporation. Van Marrewijk and Werre ( 2003 ) maintain that corporate sustainability is a custom-made procedure and each organisation should take its ain specii¬?c aspiration and attack sing corporate sustainability.

This should run into the organisation ‘s purposes and purposes, and be aligned with the organisation scheme, as anappropriate response to the fortunes in which the organisation operates.

3.1.3 The common good attack

This 3rd group of attacks, less amalgamate than the stakeholder attack but with possible, holds the common good of society as the referential value for CSR ( Mahon and McGowan, 1991 ; Velasquez, 1992 ) . The common good is a classical construct rooted in Aristotelean tradition ( Smith, 1999 ) , in Medieval Scholastics ( Kempshall, 1999 ) , developed philosophically ( Maritain, 1966 ) and assumed into Catholic societal idea ( Carey, 2001 ) as a cardinal mention for concern moralss ( Alford and Naughton, 2002 ; Mele A? , 2002 ; Pope John Paul II, 1991, # 43 ) . This attack maintains that concern, as with any other socialgroup or single in society, has to lend to the common good, because it is a portion of society.

In this regard, it has been argued that concern is a mediating establishment ( Fort, 1996, 1999 ) . Business should be neither harmful to nor a parasite on society, but strictly a positive subscriber to the wellbeing of the society. Business contributes to the common good in different ways, such as making wealth, supplying goods and services in an efi¬?cient and just manner, at the same clip esteeming the self-respect and the unalienable and cardinal rights of the person. Furthermore, it contributes to societal wellbeing and a harmonic manner of populating together in merely, peaceable and friendly conditions, both in the present and in the hereafter ( Mele A? , 2002 ) .

To some extent, this attack has a batch in common with both the stakeholder attack ( Argandon E?a, 1998 ) and sustainable development, but the philosophical base is different. Although there are several ways of understanding the impression of common good ( Sulmasy, 2001 ) , the reading based on the cognition of human nature and its fuli¬?llment seems to us peculiarly convincing. It permits the circum-navigation of cultural relativism, which is often embedded in some dei¬?nitions of sustainable development. The common good impression is besides really near to the Nipponese construct of Kyosei ( Goodpaster, 1999 ; Kaku, 1997 ; Yamaji, 1997 ) , understood as ”living and working together for the common good ” , which, together with the rule of human self-respect, is one of the founding rules of the popular ”The Caux Roundtable Principles for Business ” ( ) .


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