business ethics discussion replies 2
You will see the original questions presented to the class underlined below. I need responses to the following students’ posts #1-4. The #5 post is the instructor’s reply to my post. Every response to #1-5 should be at least a paragraph or two. This is for Business Ethics 400 class so please read the attached links. You need to only reference the links provided at the bottom for your sources. Please don’t forget page numbers in your citations if applicable. It is for a forum setting so please do not use, …”This student’s post….”. Please write as if you are responding to the student. Also, please complete citations for each response separately in order for me to keep each one organized. Only use the attachments I provided for sources please.
THE FOLLOWING IS THE QUESTIONS THAT WERE ANSWERED BY THE STUDENTS. PLEASE DO NOT REPLY TO THEM JUST USE THEM FOR REFERENCE.
Learning Activity # 1
The Environment: To be or not to be protected, that is the question?
In week 1 in considering why it is important to study business ethics, it was noted that there is a divergence of thought between those who believe that the primary role of businesses is to make money (so called Friedman approach) and those who believe businesses also have a societal role in addition to their financial or economic role. There is perhaps no greater societal issue than the environment and the relationship of businesses to this issue.
Using your readings and videos for the week, consider this alternative premise: Businesses have (an) or (no) obligation to protect the environment in conducting their operations. Choose which alternative you believe is the more persuasive and identify and discuss two arguments in support of your position. To balance your discussion, what are two counter-arguments to your position, and how would you refute them? Are there any ethical theories that might be applicable to your position or the counter to your position?
Learning Activity #2
The Operations: To be or not to be outsourced, that is the question?
Platinum Industrial Enterprises (â€œPIEâ€), a manufacturing company headquartered in Florida, was faced with a critical decision that affected its long-term survivability. The decision was necessitated by a recent rules promulgation by the EPA which lowered the amount of acceptable discharge in public waterways. The change was the result of enormous political pressure and compelling evidence linking certain discharges to significant health problems for citizens residing near PIEâ€™s plant. Taking effect in 6 months, the new regulations would substantially increase PIEâ€™s operating costs.
Joe Schmo, the CEO, was in deep thought in his office about how he would deliver the bad news to his board of directors when in walked Jerry Easyrider, the executive VP who had just returned from a business trip to MoLand, a country off the coast of Africa. Hearing the news from Joe Schmo caused Jerry to remember that while he was visiting MoLand, he had passed a boarded-up plant and when he asked his driver what it was, he was told it was formerly the home of Spirits Galore, which had closed its operations because of financial difficulties. Based on his previous business travels to MoLand, Jerry understood that the country, particularly in the more depressed areas, had few if any environmental safeguards in place and companies were largely free to operate as they pleased with respect to environmental concerns.
Joe and Jerry agreed that it would be worthwhile for Jerry, along with a team of experts, to return immediately to MoLand to check out the plant firsthand. Upon his return to Florida, Jerry briefed Joe and informed him that with minimal expenditures, the plant would be a good location for the companyâ€™s Tavor operations, the division affected by the EPA change, and further that it could be staffed quickly using the displaced workers from the former owner.
When asked about the environmental issues, Jerry indicated that he had been assured by officials at the highest level of the government that if PIE brought jobs to the country, it could do whatever it wanted environmentally. This seemed too good to be true, and Joe asked Jerry if he were sure on the environmental issues because he noticed a bit of uneasiness. Jerry indicated that he was sure about the environmental issues and was only hesitating because the most cost-effective operations would have the plant discharges flowing into waterways that primarily affected nearby impoverished and minority communities.
Joe Schmo is now torn and does not know what to do. If Joe Schmo consulted you for advice, what would you advise him regarding the move? In your advice to him, identify and discuss the ethical dilemma, related ethical issues, and relevant stakeholders. Would you recommend the move and why or why not?
THE FOLLOWING #1-#4 ARE STUDENT RESPONSES YOU SHOULD RESPOND TO.
â€œIf Joe Schmo consulted me for advice, what I would advise him regarding the move is to follow the regulations of the EPA in the Florida location. The ethical dilemma for Joe is whether he continues operations in Florida and meets EPA regulations, or if he outsources the plant to MoLand in Africa where Spirits Galore previously had a plant. The ethical issues associated with Joeâ€™s ethical dilemma are lack of disclosure, greed, and discrimination.
The first ethical issue is lack of disclosure because if they were to move the plant to Africa, they would not disclose the potential environmental impact of water discharging to communities of impoverished and minorities. The relevant stakeholders in this ethical issue are the government of MoLand and the communities where the plant will be located. The government is practically giving PIE a free pass to do as they please as long as they are bringing jobs to countries economy, with no environmental regulations. Although not all, some companies from the US offshore their pollution although they arenâ€™t breaking the law in the US or in the country that they are conducting business, such as MoLand (Zhou, 2018, para 12)
The second ethical issue is greed, due to the increased cost of making adjustments in the Florida headquarters plant, PIE is looking to move their plant offshore to decrease their operating costs. PIE is considering to do whatever is necessary to reduce their cost, making them greedy, although their plant has harmed citizens nearby the plant causing health problems. The EPA regulations were created to protect the citizens by regulating acceptable amounts of water discharge to local communities. The relevant stakeholders in this ethical issue are the government, community affected in Florida, and PIE employees. The long-term survivability of PIE is on the balance, but their greed of moving the plant offshore, should not be driven because of this. This will impact the community in Florida not only due to the health problems encountered because of PIE’s presence, but because of the layoff of the employees at the Florida plant, having a direct impact on families and communities (Svensson, Wood, & Callaghan, 2010, p. 342, para 3). If PIE were to move operations offshore, they would leave behind a community full of health problems and unemployment.
The last ethical issue experienced by PIE is discrimination against the community of MoLand due to their economic status and because they are minorities. The relevant stakeholders in this ethical issue are the community of MoLand the senior management of PIE, Joe Schmo and Jerry Easyrider. They are targeting poor communities who may be willing to work for less than the US workforce performing the same job and because there would be no environmental regulations, this community may not be able to fully comprehend the impact that discharge may have in their public waterways. PIE would be reducing their environmental impact at home, but the improvised community of MoLand would feel the impact of this offshoring because PIE has free reigns to do whatever theyâ€™d like because MoLand is less regulated (Zhou, 2018, para 3).
I would recommend that Joe does not make the move and follow EPA regulations for the US-based plant in Florida. The water source for minorities and impoverished people in MoLand is not less important than water sources for others. Joe must be aware that it is unethical to use poor communities as a commodity (Toomey, 2012, para 35).
Svensson, G., Wood, G., & Callaghan, M. (2010). A corporate model of sustainable business practices: An ethical perspective. Retrieved July 5, 2019, from https://learn.umuc.edu/content/enforced/386275-001… corporate model of sustainable business practices – An ethical perspective.pdf?_&d2lSessionVal=FkYQbXFEp1BKpDjeiiQgO9gP8
Toomey, D. (2012, May 23). Global scarcity: Scramble for dwindling natural resources. Retrieved July 5, 2019, from https://e360.yale.edu/features/global_scarcity_scr…
Zhou, Y. M. (2018, May 18). When some US firms move production overseas, they also offshore their pollution. Retrieved July 5, 2019, from http://theconversation.com/when-some-us-firms-move-production-overseas-they-also-offshore-their-pollution-75371â€
â€œBusinesses do have an obligation to protect the environment. One reason is that businesses have a much bigger carbon footprint than an individual using more natural resources and thus causing more pollution in the air, water, and soil (“Chapter 14”, n.d., p. 630, para 3). By businesses not trying to reduce their footprint, they are depleting the resources available to all of us, faster than these resources can be replenished (“The needs of 7 billion peopleâ€¦”, 2014, para 1). It is unethical for a business not to do whatever is possible to reduce the carbon footprint theyâ€™ve caused or accelerated because they are one of the main causes of pollution and the reduction of resources available. Our natural resources are limited and dwindling and these resources include water, coal, oil, natural gases, fish, and phosphorous (“The needs of 7 billion peopleâ€¦”, 2014, para 3). Second reason business has an obligation to protect the environment is so they may set an example to others. Environmentally sustainable practices may result in greater profits because the general public respects those who care for the environment so, therefore, more attractive to consumers as these consumers are aware of environmental issues and the roles business play in reducing environmental impacts (“Environmental sustainability in business “, n.d., p. 5, para 2). By setting an example, more businesses will do the same resulting in greater environmental sustainability. Consumers are now conscious of these impacts business have on the environment, but by setting an example, businesses can capitalize on being the environmentally sustainable option (“Environmental sustainability in business “, n.d., p. 6, para 4).
Two counter-arguments to a businessâ€™s obligation to protect the environment are that they have no legal obligation to do so and that environmentally sustainable practices can at times be expensive and may cost the company money. In the US, legal regulations set by the EPA were created to protect the environment but there may be instances where regulations donâ€™t make a difference and companies are operating within the confines of these regulatory laws set to protect the environment (“Chapter 14”, n.d., p. 635, para 2). The other counter-argument is that it can be too expensive and may cost the company money, which they are then forced to pass on these additional costs to their customers making everything more expensive (“Chapter 14”, n.d., p. 634, para 4).
The counter to the counter is that even if there is no legal obligation, there is certainly an ethical obligation to protect the environment. Consumers are starting to select products among a range based on which product is the most ethical (“Environmental sustainability in business “, n.d., p. 6, para 1). We don’t always do things because we are legally required to do so, but because it is the right thing to do and there is no greater ethical obligation than respect to our earth which sustains us every day with its limited amount of resources.
And the counter to the other counter is even if products cost more to start, the more that businesses as a whole engage in environmentally sustainable practices, customers are willing to pay the price through business differentiation. Differentiation allows those businesses that engage in sustainable practices to have a competitive advantage or at least operate on the level as others in regard to environmentally sustainable practices (“Environmental sustainability in business “, n.d., p. 8, para 5).
Ethical theories that may be applicable to my position are utilitarianism, which seeks to provide the greatest good to the greatest number of people. If businesses protect the environment, they are providing the greatest good to the 7 billion humans on this earth as well as the environment we live in. Utilitarianism seeks to increase our happiness, and by protecting the environment, we can be assured that we can make the most of the limited resources available to us. An argument is made for utilitarianism and the environment, where environmental protection not only benefits us now, but it is beneficial for future generations (“Chapter 14”, n.d., p. 643, para 3).
Chapter 14: The green office: Economics and the environment. (n.d.). Retrieved July 5, 2019, from https://learn.umuc.edu/d2l/le/content/386275/viewC…
Environmental sustainability in business. (n.d.). Retrieved July 5, 2019, from http://www.failteireland.ie/FailteIreland/media/We…
The needs of 7 billion peopleâ€¦. (2014, November 07). Retrieved July 5, 2019, from http://www.theworldcounts.com/stories/Depletion-of…â€
â€œLearning Activity 2
In my advice to Joe Schmo I would advise him to not to pursue this business deal. The ethical dilemma in this scenario is Should Joe Schmo to do nothing and risk the substantial increase itâ€™s current operating cost or can pursue the procurement of the plant in Moland with disregard for the surrounding Moland community. If Joe Schom and the company decided to pursue this deal the ethical issues reflected in this case would lack of concern for the welfare of the local residents. If the discharge from the plant are spilled in to the waterways without testing to see if there are any environmental affects this can cause potential harms to the residents of these communities. Environmental ethics is that all life forms have the right to live(Oak, M (Feb 2018)). So, by disregarding the health of the water passages would could include manatee that is used to nourish this community is inconsistent with the basis of environmental ethics. Additionally, cultural relativism shouldnâ€™t apply in this scenario just because the government of Moland has assured Joe Schmo that they could do whatever environmentally because of the jobs it will bring in for the country the ethical issues that are raised by doing shady business could be viewed as bribe which is frowned upon in United States Business laws. Some of the stakeholders in this scenario are the local community in Moland, the local government, the Platinum Industrial Enterprises Firm. I would advise the company not to go through with the deal because although the government has agreed to allow the company to do whatever it need environmentally ethically the company knows right from wrong and pursing this deal could ruin the companyâ€™s reputation if founded to be operating outside of the environmental business laws.
Oak, M. (2018, February 19). What are Environmental Ethics and What’s Your Role in Saving Nature? Retrieved July 5, 2019, from https://helpsavenature.com/what-is-environmental-ethics
Learning Exercise 1
In my opinion business have an obligation to protect the environment while conducting their operations. Business are obligated to protect the environment because the resources that they protect are ones that are utilize to sustain their business. The water systems and air quality are 2 ways that the company could benefit. By protecting the environment, the business benefits because it allows for better air and water quality for the health of employees increasing the productivity of staff and decreasing the down time associated with health-related issues due to unclean air and water quality. This is in line with the ethical approach of environmental protection that the environment should be protect in the name of serving human welfare (The Business Ethics Workshop, 2012, p. 641, para. 3). A counter argument is that business is more concerned with profits and this may come at the cost of not protecting the environment. Companies would rather about be allowing the country to go into recession and provide for the economy instead of environmental issues. By enforcing so many laws and regulations companies will tend to do business oversees versus losing profits to state and local laws. Another counterargument why business shouldnâ€™t be concerned with environmental issues is that technological advances can increase business efficiency to help with environmental concerns. Devices that help monitoring the use of energy are already used in my company.
The Business Ethics Workshop (2012) Washington, DC: The Saylor Foundationâ€
In many cases, businesses have both an ethical and legal obligation to protect the environment in conducting their operations. The ethical obligation stems from keeping the customers and the surrounding community safe with the disposal of waste. Also, the ethical obligation for humans to protect the environment (Oak, 2018, para.1). I do not find much of an argument ethically that there should be no obligation to protecting the environment whether ethical motivations are developed from religion or political agenda. However, the debate stems more from to what extent does the environment need human intervention. One example of an ethical obligation is the protection of human health regarding fracking. 80 percent of studies suggest that this practice has dangerous human health risks associated with fracking (Stone, 2017, para.2). The obligation to not only protect the environment from harm and the community living in the area can also translate to a legal obligation that the government must protect citizens.
The legal debate can swing in different directions. Some people argue that government interference with business is unconstitutional and others that the government was created to prevent humans from harm. There is a fine line between the overstep of government and helping to prevent citizens from danger. In my opinion, I think the government has a duty to protect its citizens, but the law seems to be dictated by how much the government wants to target one individual company over another. Therefore, there should be laws that restrict emissions, no dumping wastewater, etc. but eliminate all the other red tape.
One of the main counterarguments to my proposal will be that having the government involved will push businesses overseas. Foreign companies often have used relaxed laws surrounding the protection of the environment to attract businesses to other countries. (Zhou, 2018, para.2). I would argue that consumers will purchase dirty or clean products based on their environmental awareness regardless (Zhou, 2018, para.5). However, it is important that the government is restricted to only implement laws that will have been proven to show impacts on citizens health and to not interfere with trade which will force businesses to leave as we have seen in America in the past.
On the other side of the spectrum, I would expect to hear that our ethical duty to save the planet should be translated into law. In other words, the government should make regulations regardless of human impact, but focusing on the planetâ€™s needs instead. This argument is an ethical argument and would have to have a background factor as to religious, political, or ideological influence. Therefore, I think this position is one of the hardest to defend because of external factors. However, I would argue that this is not the intended role of the government and regardless of moral motivation, facts must be presented to establish a law that depicts clear evidence of dangers to humans.
My view is utilitarian in these instances because I am focusing on the consequences of our actions versus factoring in the intentions (Crashcourse, 2016). The effects of too much regulation would harm the whole country and creating rights for the planet would interfere with the rights of humans.
CrashCourse. (2016, November 21). Utilitarianism: Crash Course Philosophy #36. Retrieved from
Oak, M. (2018, February 19). What are Environmental Ethics and What’s Your Role in Saving Nature? Retrieved from https://helpsavenature.com/what-is-environmental-e…
Stone, J. (2017, February 23). Fracking Is Dangerous To Your Health — Here’s Why. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2017/02/23/…
Zhou, Y. M. (2018, September 18). When some US firms move production overseas, they also offshore their pollution. Retrieved from http://theconversation.com/when-some-us-firms-move…
If Joe Schmo consulted me for advice, I would tell him not to proceed because I have an external influence that would disagree with intentionally polluting the environment unless there were no other alternatives. I feel a strong ethical pull that would not allow me to say, â€œYes, proceed,â€ if I knew there was a health impact on human lives that could easily be avoided. However, legally Joe Schmo has every right to proceed. The ethical dilemma that Schmo is faced with is whether to open the company in an area where the organization can operate as they wish in polluting the environment or stay and face a mountain of regulation to satisfy the environmental agency.
With that being said, I think my stance would change in a convoluted way based on the consequences of the companyâ€™s actions. For example, if the PIE company was manufacturing t-shirts and dumping chemicals into waterways I would be against the production because it directly negatively affects humans and there are many viable solutions to waste dumping. However, the manufacturing of gasoline from petroleum for the use of automobiles which then releases emissions into the air would be acceptable because there are no viable solutions. There could be an argument made for gasoline’s direct impact to Earth as it is a nonrenewable resource and the toxic chemicals that are released into the air (Toomey, 2012, para.19). However, the consequence of not producing the product would be everyone in a horse and buggy which is not realistic. I think there should be companies investing money into programs that advance solar and electric car technologies, but I think that there is so much political polarization that the suggested solutions are ridiculous and absurd on both ends. The money is often wasted on politicians and there are no solutions to any problems. Take for instance the south, with all the potential sun for solar panels, yet there are more solar panels in the north. This is directly related to over-regulation which kills our economy and push businesses into other third world countries with little to no environmental concern. The government was only designed to intervene for the protection of human life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
The impact of moving to a new area to operate as PIE wishes could have a negative impact on the perception of the company and its employees. However, there will still be consumers regardless of the environmental impact that purchases because of the price (Zhou, 2018, para.5). The community would suffer the most damage as they will be the ones who are impacted by waste dumping. I think it is important for any business to consider the environmental impact before making their decision to move forward. Just because it might be legal, does not make it ethical and just because it might be the only option now, might not mean that it has no environmental impact. For the instance of Schmo, I would say no. However, there could be instances where I would authorize the manufacturing plant to move forward based on my utilitarian approach in this scenario.
Toomey, D. (2012, May 23). Global Scarcity: Scramble for Dwindling Natural Resources. Retrieved from https://e360.yale.edu/features/global_scarcity_scr…
Zhou, Y. M. (2018, September 18). When some US firms move production overseas, they also offshore their pollution. Retrieved from http://theconversation.com/when-some-us-firms-move…â€
THE FOLLOWING IS THE #5 WHICH IS THE INSTRUCTOR’S COMMENTS. I WILL POST MY COMMENTS FIRST THEN HIS COMMENTS FOLLOWING THAT. REPLY TO HIS COMMENTS.
â€œLearning activity 1
Businesses have a responsibility of ensuring that their daily business actions and transactions protect the environment. They should be the ones taking the lead in solving issues affecting the environment in their societies. Everybody depends on the environmental status to carry out certain activities in society. A conducive environment would lead the business enterprises to get a strong basis of laying their plans (Saylor, n.d., p. 637). Hence, participating in environmental conservation measures does not only benefit the communities around the enterprises butalso their services.
Businesses should treat or take care of harmful substances before throwing them out for disposal. They should think about the dangers they cause to the environment and the health of people living them when they dispose of harmful chemical, gases, and other substances. It is ethical to treat such substances before disposing of them (What is Environmental History? [Video file], 2014). Therefore, enterprises should comply with restrictions guiding their relations with the environment.
In some cases, businesses pay more attention to the impact of their operations on economic growth. Hence, they consider their activities beneficial because they lead to a rising in the economic stability of a country. However, it is unethical to risk the lives of individuals of a community at the favor of economic growth (Yue Maggie Zhou, 2017). Economic growth should be there to benefit communities. It is not communities who should forego their health status to benefit the economy.
Learning activity 2
I would advise Joe Schmo not to take up the move. The central dilemma affecting him regards the need to make profits and effects that the firm would cause to the environment. The main ethical issues related to the move are about the status of the people living in the target located at MoLand and the environmental impact of discharging the harmful wastes to the nearby waters (What are Environmental Ethics? 2012).
The main stakeholders that should be responsible in the observation of ethical issues regarding the move are inclusive of Joe Schmo, Jerry, PIE, MoLand government, and the residents of MoLand. The fact that the residents are composed of minority communities and impoverished should not be used as loophole bythe communities to subject them to hazardous environmental conditions (Toomey, 2012).
Therefore, I would not recommend Joe Schmo to have the move because he would be subjecting the residents to health threats. Also, by considering the move, he would be operating as an environmental racist. He would be taking advantage of the residents’ instability to subject to carry out unethical business practices (Environmental Racism Explained, 2016). He should guide PIE in complying with the necessary restrictions and ethics regarding the disposal of their waste materials.
Environmental Racism Explained. (2016, January 29). Retrieved from
Saylor. (n.d.). Chapter 14. The Green Office: Economics and the Environment.
Toomey, D. (2012). Global Scarcity: Scramble for Dwindling Natural Resources. Retrieved from https://e360.yale.edu/features/global_scarcity_scr…
What are Environmental Ethics and What’s Your Role in Saving Nature? (2018, February 19). Retrieved from https://helpsavenature.com/what-is-environmental-e…
What is Environmental History? [Video file]. (2014, January 23). Retrieved from
Yue Maggie Zhou. (2017, May 18). When some US firms move production overseas, they also offshore their pollution. Retrieved from https://theconversation.com/when-some-us-firms-mov…â€
â€œIf businesses pay their fair share of taxes and operate in conformity with applicable laws, have they not done all that is required to protect the environment?
Isn’t there a persuasive utilitarian argument to be made in that jobs would be created in MoLand and consumers would benefit from the continuation of production of a necessary product?â€
SOURCES TO BE USED FOR YOUR REFERENCES:
Theme 1: Ethical Issues Related to the Environment
The Business Ethics Workshop (2012) Washington, DC: The Saylor Foundation