Business ethics is a concept taking its base primarily in general human ethics and applying those rules and guidelines in a business environment. Ethics itself is set of moral principles and laws that govern a just and civilized society (Bradburn 8). Business ethic refers to how people’s morals and fairness are used in agreements and decisions between companies and organizations worldwide. The main idea of business ethics is that it closely correlates with the laws of a society and the kindness of people who make it up and in order for the companies and organizations to flourish, ethics should be a guideline never dismissed from business.
Ethics but more importantly the laws that are based on ethical behaviors are needed to regulate the actions of business to prevent illegal issues and chaos of anarchy. If a company is not limited in the way it earns its profits, the selfishness of the financial greed will cause to focus on making the most money the fastest without considering a sensitive balance between nature and ways that humans exploit it for personal gain. It is a known fact that very often people excuse their harmful actions hoping that their detrimental carelessness will not have any effect on the future of the planet and generations of people to follow. The notion that in the eventually there will be a “magical” technology that will simply get rid of all the negativity and damage in the world is far too common But that is not how the world works and if these important issues are not addressed in a timely manner, it could be too late to deal with in the future as some things would be almost impossible to reverse. The key goal of business ethics is to regulate the actions of corporations in relation to the surrounding natural environment, people and society’s laws and rules. Another reason why ethics is the right direction for any business is that honesty will be rewarded and the benefits gained from kindness will be much greater than those of lies and deceit. But very often rules and laws are helpless in controlling the ever reaching negative actions of a business. To further analyze the matter there is the case of Silverstar Chemical Company that has been dumping cancer-causing waste into the near river and falsifying the records. By law they would be required to transport the waste to a legal dumpsite inferring such high cost that it would cause 10000 employees to be out of work (Roa 186). The laws are meant to regulate and control the actions of businesses, representing the interest of society in order to keep it from harm both physical and mental. But very often there are loopholes that could be found and thus the law is avoided allowing for the continuance of the pollution and damage to the environment. The goal of law makers and society is to make the laws as comprehensive as possible, touching upon every outcome by constant revision and investigation of the factors involved in such a delicate matter.
As businesses and their consequences are covering the whole planet there are great influences that could be observed in relation to nature and its preservation. There are a number of laws that relate to businesses and the environment. Some of them regulate the noise, smells, damage to land, buildings and property in general, as well as health problems to humans living in the vicinity together with animals and plants (Jennings 357). Except from the obvious physical factors that are easily noticed there are other things that could be linked to the proximity of a damaging business. For example if it is a plant that uses a lot of wiring and electromagnetic towers, it could affect the price values for the properties located around it (Jennings 359). Unfortunately a lot of issues and influences of a business location to the surrounding environment are very hard to trace. There are a number of possibilities that would conceal the businesses’ infringements without leaving any proof. A plant could dump its waste into the water of a close by lake or sea at night, without anyone seeing or it could have a specific area where the waste would be buried into the ground only to be discovered years after. In today’s world it is a known fact that the pollution produced by human activity has caused some changes in the environment. The industrial plants that have toxic emissions are now monitored by the world organizations, limiting the amounts and percentages of the pollutants emitted into the air. A great way to regulate it is the Kyoto Protocol putting a system in place that rewards those countries that decreased their levels of pollution. There are steps that are taken even in the vehicle industry by making more electric, nature friendly cars that limit carbon dioxide emissions. It is undeniable that humanity is taking the necessary action to control its ecological footprint, guided by morals and ethics that are primarily governed by the goodness and humanity, a balance between human civilization and natural environment so delicately balanced in all instances of life.
To further analyze business ethics there are real world examples. Let’s consider a case between McDonald’s and L.C. Big Mak Burger Inc. The court decided that it was an infringement of rights as the Big Mak Burger appealed to the popularity of the McDonalds’ burger by making its name sounds exactly the same. It was proved that there were no original ideas as to why the L.C. Big Mak decided to call themselves in such a way, except to use the already excising trade name (Roa 174). This would be considered unethical because taking somebody’s idea and changing a single letter in the name to “seemingly” differentiate from the original, is immoral and unfair. Another example where ethics comes into play is the oil spill that happened in the Gulf in 2010. The British multinational company called BP, whose oil got spilled, decided that the best way to deal with it is by spraying a chemical dispersant that would turn the oil into small droplets that would sink (Halbert 20). Ethically the intentions of a cleanup might seem as a step in the right direction but at the same time it introduced a new chemical that was not well studied into the environment, not to mention that the droplets of oil that sunk would still stay on the sea floor with unknown effect on the ecosystem in the present and future. Ethically the clean up was a good idea but the methods were quickest and least expensive for the company as it is not interested in the future of the planet but only in the financial gains that influence its own prosperity and business.
Business ethics are as important as any other kind of ethics. It creates a line between honesty, humanity, kindness and evil based on lies and personal gain. Businesses spread their influence to the farthest corners of the planet and that is why the governing bodies of the corporations and society should make sure that there are always laws and regulations that preserve and protect the world and everyone who calls it “home”.
Bradburn, Roger. Understanding Business Ethics, London: Thomson Learning, 2001. Print.
Jennings, Marianne. Environment Business: Its Legal, Ethical, and Global Environment, Connecticut: South-Western Cengage Learning, 2010. Print.
Halbert, Terry and E. Ingulli. Law & Ethics in the Business Environment, Connecticut: South-Western Cengage Learning, 2010. Print.
Roa, Floriano. Business Ethics and Social Responsibility, Philippines: Rex Bookstore Inc., 2007. Print.