Environmental safety is a responsibility of all individuals and firms should promote the health of the environment. Living in a good and clean environment is not only healthy to human beings but also promotes the welfare of firms in the market. Governments, environmental lobby groups, civil society groups and other organizations have placed a major campaign against damage on he environment. It is evident that there are advantages and disadvantages accrued from conducting environmental safety and promotion of a clean environment by business entities. In this paper I will discuss whether firms have a moral responsibility to maintain a clean environment. All businesses have a responsibility to maintain a sustainable and clean environment.
Companies which practice environmental conservation develop a good image in the public. The general public develops loyalty and trust upon organizations which are friendly to the environment. Today consumers are very sensitive about the moral responsibilities of the companies which manufacture consumer products. Companies conducting unhealthy business activities tend to be shunned away by consumers. It has become a requirement for all companies to start initiatives of protecting the environment to attract more customers. The international community has been concerned about environmental pollution and companies promoting the activities of environmental safety are being rewarded. ISO 140001 certification is provided to firms which are friendly to the environment and this is used to encourage companies to conduct their business in a responsible manner (Johnson, p. 228). The ISO 140001 provides a framework by which all business entities, individuals and governments should conduct their activities in a clean environment. Companies which become ISO 140001 certified have the advantage of global recognition. In addition, products manufactured by companies which are ISO 140001 certified are acceptable by customers in the global scene. It is important for firms to conduct their businesses in an environmental friendly manner to ensure they achieve ISO 140001 certificate.
Normative ethics require that all companies be morally friendly in their activities. All companies ought to conduct their business in a clean environment. Irrespective of the existence of laws to protect the environment, it is implied that firms should protect the environment by promoting ethical behavior. It is acceptable that firms should promote the health of the environment by encouraging good environmental practices (O’Donohue, and Ferguson, p. 426). Firms have an ethical responsibility of reporting cases of irresponsible behavior among other firms. The law protects all individuals and organizations which attempt to report immoral behavior. Firms have a moral responsibility to blow the whistle for any attempts by other firms in the market to conduct unacceptable activities which may harm the environment. Whistle blowing is the process of reporting any illegal activities being conducted by other people (Lewis, p. 1). Whistle blowing involves overriding the interests of an organization or a group of organizations conducting irresponsible activities which may harm the environment for the welfare of the general public.
Changes in the global climate which have been brought about unethical business activities has reduced the performance of some industries. A lot of effort should be placed to curb bad environmental practices. . There have been adverse effects on many businesses especially at the coast after the increased melting of the ice creating a great risk for the occurrence of tsunamis and other hazards brought about by the rise in sea level (Scholz, p.1). Though small businesses are not directly affected by the changes in climate, the increase in prices for the materials, energy and products used by the businesses creates an indirect cost. This has caused the increase in prices of products sold to customers; hence the change in climate has direct and indirect impacts on small and large businesses. Many restrictions have been placed on businesses and companies and this has created more costs for many investors.
According to Hagen (2007, para 3) “companies that have assets that can be adversely affected by climatic changes, including stronger storms, prolonged droughts in some areas and heavy precipitation and flooding in others, must plan now.” Decline in value of assets located at the coasts have declined since there has been a great threat for them being affected by storms and tsunamis. It has become very costly and difficult to insure assets and businesses located bin the high risk areas. To insure businesses that can be affected by wind and floods requires construction of better structures and buildings which can withstand and resist the damage. This creates additional costs to businesses (A cooler climate. P. 2).
In a normal business environment acquiring abnormal profits requires overlooking some legal restrictions. Businesses which are ethical in their activities have a limited amount of profits. When a business promotes ethical activities by conserving the environment, a lot of funds are expensed and these could be invested in other areas of the business. Conserving the environment is the responsibility of the tax collecting agents, which in most cases is the government. The funds collected as taxes should be used to protect the environment and firms should not be involved in environmental conservation. Firms pay corporate taxes and they should be relieved the burden of conserving the burden.
Climate change which has been caused by unethical business activities has promoted the sale of products in some industries. Pharmaceutical products have gained demand especially for diseases that were restricted to some regions (Hagen, p.1). The tropical zones had previously a distinct set of diseases that affected plants and animals. The change in climate has spread the tropical diseases to other zones and the demand for pharmaceuticals has been on the increase. People affected by the tsunamis, floods and other calamities associated with climate change have sought medical attention in different healthcare centers in the world. This has created more opportunities to the healthcare industry. The demand for appliances that save energy has increased as the campaign for environmental-friendly sources of energy intensifies. Research for automobiles, machines and other equipments that use energy form other sources other than fossil fuels has been conducted (Kennard and Hauge, p. 1). Companies which have succeeded in the introduction of such products have gained from the increase in demand for their products (Scholz, p.1).
It is therefore conclusive that firms have a moral responsibility to maintain a clean environment. It is ethically and morally correct for firms to protect the environment to ensure sustainability in the conduct of business activities. There are several companies which have benefited from climate change which has resulted from poor environmental protection. However, the pros of protecting the environment have been observed to exceed the cons and this implies that firms should be ethical in their business activities.
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