Establishing business ethics is one of the most challenging tasks for any company. They should incorporate numerous elements regarding the targeted risks that are supposed to be addressed through them. In this case, the business under consideration faces ethical problems related to environmental issues, and this fact defines their central place in the current proposal. It aims at creating an ethics program and developing a training plan ensuring its successful implementation. Moreover, the proposal includes the procedure of compliance auditing as one of the essential steps of the overall initiative. In this way, the consideration of various aspects of the business ethics program will ensure the company’s sustainable development in the future.
Environmental Risks for Businesses
The most critical problems caused by the present-day corporations relate to the environment and require treatment within these institutions. These issues led to the creation of management standards such as the Global Reporting Initiative, which aims to measure and improve corporate environmental performance (Boda & Zsolnai, 2016). However, such programs are insufficient without making changes at the company level. Therefore, the situation implies introducing specific measures intended to eliminate the risks of environmental harm resulting from improper management of business operations.
The importance of this type of risks for the company is defined by external factors. They primarily include the increased awareness of people about the negative impact of companies on the environment and the growing problems connected to it at the international level (Li et al., 2020). Therefore, the decision to focus on environmental issues when developing business ethics will be extremely beneficial in terms of improving the company’s image and attractiveness for customers, which will lead to an increase in profits.
Countries Associated with Environmental Risks
The widespread trend of present-day businesses to develop environmental protection initiatives is a positive phenomenon. Nevertheless, not only companies have a tremendous impact on the global environment. Their influence is complemented by the policies of governments, and this factor leads to the identification of some countries as associated with this type of risks. The situation is also worsened by rapid population growth, urbanization, and industrialization (Moghim & Garna, 2019). Hence, the countries’ vulnerability to natural disasters became one of the principal considerations when cooperating with their companies.
This tendency drew the attention of scholars who attempted to classify the world’s countries, depending on their environmental resilience. The outcome of their study indicated that the most resilient countries are located in Europe and North America, and the least resilient countries are in Africa and Asia (Moghim & Garna, 2019). More specifically, Germany, the United States, and Canada are the most business-friendly countries from the perspective of the environment (Moghim & Garna, 2019). As for the least favorable countries, they include China, India, and Ethiopia (Moghim & Garna, 2019). The consideration of the countries indicated as the least environmentally resilient will help to reveal the perspectives of cooperation with them in the future.
The Effects of Risks on the Countries
The effects of environmental risks on the specified countries that are the least favorable for business can be viewed when analyzed separately. The first and second countries under consideration are China and India. The situation there is complicated by air pollution resulting from the release of particles and chemicals substances into the atmosphere by industrial activities (Moghim & Garna, 2019). Unfortunately, there is no law controlling the process in these countries, and this fact makes them inappropriate partners for long-term cooperation and sustainable development of the company.
The third country is Ethiopia, and its inclusion in the list of the least favorable business partners is defined by specific factors. They include the slow growth of population and limited access to improved sanitation and drinking water (Moghim & Garna, 2019). These circumstances are connected to the current state of the environment since slow development correlates with air pollution, GHG emissions, and improper energy use (Moghim & Garna, 2019). In this way, Ethiopia is the worst country from the perspective of its contribution to environmental protection.
The Role of Ethical Decision-Making in Business Organizations
To ensure the company’s sustainable development, it is vital to promote ethical decision-making. This necessity is defined by the possibility of a negative outcome of its operations in case if they are not aligned with the ethical aspect. The failure of business ethics indicates the failure of the business as a whole since it is incapable of reaching its target (Boda & Zsolnai, 2016). This process, in relation to environmental risks, demonstrates the impossibility for the company to recover from potential losses from its non-compliance with the requirements regarding the protection of the environment (Boda & Zsolnai, 2016). Hence, the role of ethical decisions made by the company’s managers is determined by the need to reach the ultimate target, which is profitability, while respecting the needs of the present-day world.
The Impact of Business Ethics on Stakeholder Relationships
Another aspect that is influenced by proper business ethics is the company’s relationships with its stakeholders. Their interconnection is conditional upon the fact that a business should not only create economic value but also address the needs of all people involved in its operations (Jones et al., 2017). The traditional theory focused solely on profits proved to be untenable in satisfying stakeholders (Jones et al., 2017). Hence, it is critical to include other areas of the company’s influence in its program.
This initiative is intended to cover various aspects of the organization’s activity from an ethical perspective. In other words, the inclusion of the interests of all stakeholders will shape the business ethics that will enhance the company’s growth in the future. Therefore, the orientation of managers in elaborating ethical principles will shift from economic logic to the cultural and moral norms of value creation (Jones et al., 2017). In this way, the designed business ethics will satisfy all stakeholders by addressing their needs different from profits and improve their relationships.
The Necessity of Ethics Programs, Trainings, and Compliance Auditing
The creation of an ethics program for the company is a vital step in ensuring its sustainable development. As can be seen from the study on business ethics, environmental problems are severe obstacles for the expansion of the present-day organizations (Boda & Zsolnai, 2016). Moreover, researchers claim that the efforts of a single company in establishing the system for overcoming such issues are insufficient (Boda & Zsolnai, 2016). This outcome allows concluding on the necessity to comply with state and governmental initiatives addressing environmental problems, and it is possible only in case of the presence of strong ethical business practices.
The practical implementation of a program aimed at establishing ethics in the company should be performed through the conduction of training for its personnel. This step is essential for instilling new values and principles guiding its business operations with regard to environmental issues and obtaining the support of employees at all levels (Jones et al., 2017). As for compliance auditing, its importance is defined by the need to establish the correspondence of the company’s activity to laws and regulations related to environmental protection (Usnick & Usnick, 2013). All in all, the combination of an ethics program, personnel training, and audits will promote the business’s growth in the long run.
The Training Plan for Ethical Considerations and Social Responsibility
The training plan for the company’s employees intended to promote specific ethical considerations, and the notion of social responsibility will include several steps. First, it will be necessary to develop a web-based training program for the employees so that they could discuss various issues related to the ethics of business activity. Second, the managers will add the information on the company’s cooperation with energy-saving and other environmental organizations, allowing them to test their knowledge of its contribution. Third, the employees will be encouraged to perform team tasks in the online program to formulate the appropriate reaction to emerging factors on a case-by-case basis. Thus, the creation of a web-based program and the development of individual and group challenges will help the company’s managers to ensure the understanding of its business ethics and social responsibility.
Goals of the Training Program
The proposed training program for the company’s personnel implies several goals in intends to reach. The first goal is to present the new ethical considerations that should guide the business activities so that employees could make decisions based on them. The second goal is to ensure that the values and principles promoted by the company’s management are equally accepted by all the people involved in its operations, and there is no conflict of interest. The third goal is to test employees’ ability to make appropriate decisions from the perspective of business ethics in emergency situations. In this way, the managers will ensure the independence of the company’s workers in the decision-making process while complying with ethical considerations.
Objectives of the Training Program
The training program’s objectives primarily relate to enhancing the company’s contribution to the protection of the environment on a global scale. The first objective is to improve the company’s image and its attractiveness as an eco-friendly business for both potential employees through the increase in awareness of its environmental role. The second objective is to promote partnerships with worldwide ecological organizations with the help of the company’s personnel’s orientation on this intention. The third objective is to establish the practice of disclosure of information related to business operations that potentially have a negative impact on the environment and the methods the company uses to address such issues. Hence, the use of the specified practices by employees will ensure the business’ competitive advantage.
Learning Methods and Activities of the Training Program
The learning methods of the training program will be distinguished by the number of people involved. In individual activities, the methods will be eLearning and the following group discussions with other participants, which is highly effective in terms of processing the knowledge they receive (Bleich, 2017). In the case of brainstorming activities in groups, the methods will be case studies and group discussions allowing to exchange new information and provide feedback (Bleich, 2017). As for the activities, they will all be connected to the use of a web-based program providing specific tasks for both individuals and groups of employees. The specified learning methods and activities would be optimal for reaching the goals and objectives mentioned above.
Evaluation of the Training Program
Another important aspect ensuring the success of the training program implementation is its consequent evaluation. It will be performed with the help of training feedback surveys and evaluation reports for the program development team. The surveys will include a variety of questions about the preparation of the training, the understanding of its goals and objectives, and the program’s perceived efficiency after its implementation and recommendations. Evaluation reports will be made on the basis of conducted surveys in order to provide the developers with extensive information on the program’s strong points and shortcomings that should be eliminated in the future. As a result, the feedback from all the participants will improve the training for future employees.
The training process will be different for individuals and groups of employees, and the managers will control it. The former will use the online program to test their knowledge of the company’s contributions to the protection of the environment by taking tests and consequently discussing them with their colleagues. The latter, in turn, will have a more complex task, which will be based on making decisions on random cases provided by the program in a timely manner. This challenge will correspond to the concept of action learning, which proved to be extremely efficient for developing problem-oriented solutions (Hauser, 2020). In this way, the process will be divided into two steps, one of which is theoretical (individual tests), and another is practical (teamwork).
Conducting Compliance Auditing
The ultimate step of the training program is the conduction of compliance auditing. It allows ensuring the correspondence of the company’s ethical decision-making to the current legislation (Usnick & Usnick, 2013). The appointed auditor will supervise the company’s initiatives in the area of environmental protection and the impact of the designed training program on their overall outcome. For this purpose, he will use the checklists containing the essential questions (Usnick & Usnick, 2013). They will relate to the actions that have already been taken and their results, their correspondence to the initial plan and consistency, and the methods of defining the program’s compliance with the legislation. Thus, the audit will help to reveal the initiative’s weaknesses.
To sum up, the company’s primary task is to establish business ethics with regard to environmental issues. It is performed through the formulation of values and principles among employees, who need to make independent decisions about cooperation with organizations from other countries considering their compliance with global environmental needs. Strong business ethics will also improve the relationships with all the company’s stakeholders by increasing their satisfaction not only with profits but also with the business’s attention to the protection of the environment. To successfully establish the ethics, managers should perform the designed training program, evaluate its efficiency with the help of specified techniques, and conduct the compliance audit.
Environmental risks are essential for businesses all over the world, and their inclusion in the company’s business ethics will be beneficial not only in terms of profits but also for its reputation. Hence, the ethics program is focused on the awareness of employees about the current situation in business and cooperation with countries defined as most resilient from the perspective of the environment. Since the legislation aimed at stabilizing the global environment is a priority, the best partners will be the businesses from countries respecting these issues. Thus, the process of making ethical decisions by the company’s employees will be established through proper training, evaluation, and auditing.
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