Ethical business behavior in the current competitive global business environment have become of a great concern to the global business community. Specifically, the concept of environmental pollution has been of great focus as the global organization and business community formulate and adopt various initiatives to reduce and curb environmental pollution. Businesses comply with ethical standards due to various reasons such as the avoidance of lawsuits, which may be expensive to the organization. In addition, some ethical issues are entailed in criminal law thereby business would comply to avoid breaking the law. Ethical issues also affect the public image of the company, which may affect its reputation and opinion among the public (Have, 2006). Therefore, ethical issues are imperative to the organization to prevent the loss of money in lawsuits and maintain the reputation of the business.
Ethics and Environmental Pollution in the Third World Countries
The third world countries are the undeveloped, poor countries, which are characterized by slow economic growth and development. These countries have less concern of the environmental pollution and are always entangled in extremely poor environmental conditions. In most of the third world countries, pollution is unrestricted, and the authorities are less concerned with the developing measures to control and reduce environmental pollution. The implications of environmental pollution to these third world countries have been adverse to their development and economic growth. However, the majority of the third world countries are strained to introduce measures to control environmental pollution since they may produce negative effects to economic development (Have, 2006).
Environmental pollution has led to increased health concerns among the population of most third world countries. The prevalence of diseases in the third world countries has increased as a result of environmental pollution. Environmental pollution entails air pollution due to smokes released by manufacturing industries on burning fossil fuels to produce energy. In addition, firms release industrial effluents and wastes to the mainstream water system in most developing countries. Environmental pollution in most third world countries also involves uncontrolled garbage disposal, which acts as a health hazard to the community living around the areas where garbage has been disposed. Such kinds of pollution have caused adverse effects to the community as health concerns have increased among people. The cost of maintaining health community has increased, and most of poor people in these countries spend most of their income on combating health related problems (OECD, 1995). This has compounded the problem of poverty among people as government policies to reduce poverty among people are contradictory. The government expenditure on health related problems has increased thereby constraining funds which can be directed to development projects. Environmental pollution has also led to environmental degradation due to increased garbage disposal and mining activities.
The majority of the organizations operating in most of the developing countries have little regards to environmental pollution. This can be attributed to various factors concerning the government and society in general. In most of the developing countries, the government has introduced lean measures to control, prevent and curb environmental pollution. This has been due to the fact that government views introduction of strict control measures against pollution that may affect the growth and performance of the economy. Introducing strict control measures against pollution will discourage business enterprises from operating their business in these countries. Therefore, organizations operating in these countries will place little effort to control environmental pollution. The issue of corruption has been of great concern in most of the developing countries. Organizations operating in most of the developing countries usually influence the authority by giving bribes. This enables such organizations to pollute the environment since there will be no implications. Implementation of the set laws in most developing countries has been a great challenge (Okot-Uma & Ekosse, 2000). This has been due to the fact that most of the set laws contradict with each other thereby implementing them becomes a daunting task to the authorities. In addition, most of the developing countries lack proper frameworks upon which these laws can be implemented.
Community-based programs and activists play an important role in influencing policies affecting the community. However, most developing countries lack strong community-based programs, and activism is challenged in most cases by an oppressive government. Community-based programs act as a base upon which the community is educated about environmental pollution and its various impacts. Lack of proper frameworks upon which community-based programs operate enables the organization to continue polluting the environment unabated (Have, 2006). In addition, most of the developing countries depend on coal and biomass as their domestic source of energy. Most of the firms also use coal as the main energy source to run the industries. The lack of alternative sources of energy has compounded the problem. These environmental pollutions raise serious ethical concerns on the business community operating in the developing countries. The practice of corporate social responsibility ensures compliance with ethical and moral practices in an organization. Therefore, organizations operating in most of the developing countries exercise less corporate social responsibility hence the community is more impoverished. The issue of environmental pollution is a component of corporate social responsibility, but most of the organizations operating in most developing countries place little efforts in the practice. The practice of corporate social responsibility facilitates all round the community development. Therefore, organizations in most developing countries do not practice corporate social responsibility thereby leaving deficiencies in the development of the community. Environmental pollution in most of the developing countries has been an impediment to poverty eradication and economic development.
Economic development is essential to meet the rising demand of people in most developing countries. However, environmental pollution has been a rising challenge as countries pursue their development agenda through industrialization. Environmental pollution has detrimental impacts on the community, and it can act as an obstacle to economic development. For example, the cost of a sick population productivity of a country or cost involved in case of an epidemic such as cholera due to environmental pollution results to serious negative impacts on economic development (Okot-Uma & Ekosse, 2000). In addition, environmental degradation due to activities such as mining may cause soil erosion affecting agricultural productivity, which is one of the sources of income to most of the developing countries. However, the authority needs to maintain a balance between environmental and economic development through the introduction of measures which ensure a balance between the two concepts. Most developing countries view environment mitigation measures as those that will compromise the development of the economy. The cost of environment pollution over the globe has led to significant negative impacts on the climate such as the greenhouse effect. Therefore, the third world countries should learn from the developed countries’ mistakes, which have led to recent climatic disasters. These countries can adopt various measures that encourage the use of renewable sources of energy. This will reduce the rate of environmental pollution even with rapid industrialization without placing excess pressure on the environment. These include exploration of other sources of energy such as solar energy, wind and hydro power. These will provide the required energy for rapid industrialization and economic development without affecting the environment adversely.
The government has an obligation to protect the human rights and freedoms of its citizens. These include the right to live, freedom of movement, right of security, freedom of expression, right of proper health and the right of protection among other rights and freedoms. The environment provides a framework upon which people exist and enjoy their rights. Therefore, the government has a duty to protect the environment since it is a major determinant of rights, security, health and protection (Picolotti, 2010). Therefore, all people in all the countries, whether developed or developing, are entitled to these rights and freedoms, and environment protection is a major factor to the people. Therefore, the government should put in place frameworks to protect the environment in its efforts to protect the rights of the people.
Developed countries have an obligation to provide help to developing countries in their effort to control environment pollution. It is hypocritical when developed countries demand that developing countries make environment conservation a priority since for them to achieve their status of economic development they destroyed the environment. However, with the current trends in global business and the increased use of information and technology in the production process, developed countries should assist developing countries to devise new methods of energy production. Developed countries should assist developing countries in acquiring modern technology in the production process and in the provision of energy to drive the rapid industrialization. Developed countries should also facilitate educational programs and trainings on the importance of conserving the environment since the world has developed a new focus on environmental conservation (OECD, 1995). Developed countries should assist developing countries in their efforts to conserve the environment since the costs of environment degradation may be more than the achieved economic development. For example, China has had more than twenty years of uncontrolled development where they experienced rapid industrialization. However, the cost of environmental pollution has been of a great concern to the government due to constant floods and other environmental factors.
Global regulations of environment conservation have taken a shift in the recent history with more countries encouraging environment conservation. Previously global organization, such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) have called on countries for the embracing of standardized global regulations in a bid to control environmental degradation, for example, the Kyoto protocol in 2008. However, the majority of the developed countries, such as the USA and Australia, did not sign the agreement. This was due to the implications the agreement could have on their economic development. However, these countries through various mechanisms encouraged developing countries to comply with the protocol. The protocol was meant to control the emission levels from the countries. Uniform and standardized global controls of regulating the environment are important in the effort by the global community to control environment regulation. Montreal protocol is termed as one of the most successful global environment agreements, which was meant to facilitate parties cut their emission of ozone depleting substances. This has led to the reduction of greenhouse gases emitted to the environment thereby reducing the rate of the ozone layer depletion. In the implementation of the uniform global standards, it must be designed in a flexible and dynamic design to encourage its operations on a voluntary basis (UNEP, 2007). The implementation should focus on availing information to the members upon which they are able to make sound decisions. The uniform standards should also facilitate operation of a multilateral funding mechanism where the developed countries are given a legal obligation to provide the funds to the third world countries to implement the uniform standards successfully (UNEP, 2007). The uniform standard system should also provide mechanisms to facilitate the transfer of technology to the third world countries, which will help the implementation of the uniform standard.
In conclusion, environment pollution in developing countries has not been taken seriously by most of the organization operating there. It has been due to the implication of introducing measures of controlling the environment to their economies. However, the cost of environment pollution to an economy can be dire and can even exceed the benefits. Therefore, these countries should develop mechanisms which enable control of environment pollution while not affecting economic development significantly. Introduction of a new treaty is essential to the global efforts to control environment pollution. It will enable collective action against environment pollution.