Business Ethics in our World

A view of its impacts

overview

There are many ethical issues/ concerns in the world regarding businesses, government and citizens. Although there are many ethics around the world, this poster provides information on the three main ones that need to be given most importance to. They are the Environment, Abusing Human Rights and Embezzlement.

environmental Ethics

Background information of issue

The core principle of environmental ethics is that nature has essential value in the world of business. This means that nature and its parts are not only means for accomplishing one’s purposes, but are ends in and for themselves. Businesses affect the natural environment at different levels of the organization of nature:



  • Individual biological creatures are affected by businesses via hunting, fishing, agriculture, animal testing, etc.
  • Natural ecosystems are affected by businesses via mining, regulating rivers, building, pollution in the air, water and land, etc.
  • The earth as a whole is affected by businesses via exterminating species, contributing to climate change, etc.



Businesses should assure natural life conditions and painless existence for animals and other sentiment beings. In today’s society, mainstream business organizations are not able to satisfy the environmental ethics, resulting in making negative impacts on nature. However, some alternative businesses discover and function in a sustainable way. One prime example of these organizations is LifeGate, an innovative Italian company that provides organizations and consumers with sustainability-orientated products and services.

Impact on the Citizens

Environmental ethics has taught us to think more carefully about the actual extent of the range of stakeholders in any ethical decision. Stakeholders include, the immediate people involved of course, but may also include the citizens of the future generations that may be affected by the changes in the environment brought about by decisions made by todays society. The ever-increasing human population, is moreover, increasing demands for more food and shelter, leading to the destruction of the natural environment for human inhabitation. The destruction caused by the humans, in turn, returns to them in the form of polluted environment creating difficulties for themselves as well as for the future generations to come. Stakeholders also include the citizens that live far away around the working area via air and water, because these people rely on these sources on a daily basis. For instance, the pollution from a new residential subdivision might flow down towards a nearby river. At first, the damaging effects may be slight, but over time these effects may accumulate the river is fundamentally and destructively altered. On the other hand, the environmental ethics may be positive in the sense that they provide the citizens with many goods and services, making their lives easier. Businesses following this ethic provides reliable goods for their consumers, and full satisifaction because it is created with its best foot forward.

Impact on the Government

Environmental ethics invites us, to look ahead in time. It also invites us to look far [afield] on land and water. The government puts forth many laws and regulations to ensure that the working areas are kept to its healthiest. The plastic bottle we throw out of the window remains sitting for months by the side of the road. The used engine oil we pour down the roadside drain runs through miles of waterways and pipes all the way down to the faraway bay. The burning of coal in China results in soot and ash falling on the western U.S. The greenhouse gasses burned in Europe and North America are chiefly responsible for raising average temperatures, and the impacts of these actions affect each person and the ecosystem virtually. The government has to acknowledge these impacts and work towards their prevention. The downside of these actions result in massive destruction of the natural environment, but if appropriate laws are regulated, then the services from the business' can provide a rise in the economy, and provide many jobs for the people within the area.

Impact on Businesses

Lastly, the environmental ethics requires us to leave the comfort of our homes to perceive and consider the effects of actions on a natural world that we often take for granted. Businesses implement this ethical issue in regards to ensure that their actions are providing a safe effect on its natural environment. As stated earlier, businesses impact the natural environment in various ways at different levels. By learning our responsibilites towards the environment such as; waste management,non-pollution, growing trees, readicating poaching/hunting/deforestation, waterconservation, non-dumping of wastes into thes sea, recycling, stopping the emission of harmful chemicals and gases into the air, and so on, our environment would be in a better position to serve us. Due to all of these actions, they have to be aware that the workers work towards following the laws set by the government, while providing full satisfaction to the citizens/consumers and also ensuring that they protect the natural environment.

Abusing Human Rights

Background information on Human Rights

“Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.”


Imagine living in a world where you were not allowed to do anything, whether it is because you are a homosexual, opposite sex or from a different ethnicity. Fortunately, a declaration called the Universal Declaration of Human rights was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1948, initiating human rights internationally. Humans Rights are certain rights that are granted to each individual despite their religion, nationality or gender. The purpose of these rights are to eliminate any forms of discrimination and to ensure peace, mutual respect, justice and dignity. Although the declaration of human rights was universal, thousands of people, mostly women and children, still suffer from the lack of rights they are given in many countries, especially in third world countries where they do not enforce these rights into their laws. Below explains some of the stakeholders that both benefit and suffer from abusing human rights.

Impact on the Citizens

Although many countries fail to protect the rights of its workers, they are usually the reason for exploitating workers. Some forms of exploitation would be human trafficking and slavery. Whether these conditions are legalized in a country or not, many people are left with no choice except to contribute or participate in abusing these rights because of some benefits they see for themselves:


1) Economic conditions: Many people around the world, especially in third world countries, work in factories or western-owned companies that make the workers work long hours with very little pay. Even though this may seem extremely brutal for the workers, this does have some benefits for them. Firstly, the employees that work in these factories are uneducated majority of the time. However, jobs like this require no education which applies to many jobs in third world countries. Also, there are many children who are under the legal age of working who have jobs in order to help out their families. If these jobs were not available and if human right policies were to be forcefully implemented, many people in third world countries would be homeless by now.

2) Cheaper prices: Looking at the consumer perspective, abusing human rights is beneficial to consumers in developed countries. For example, if a Canadian was to buy a shoe made in Canada it would be much more expensive than the same shoe made in China. In addition, the shoe that was made in China would have definitely been made by someone, most likely to be a child, who was working in poor conditions. Therefore, taking advantage of human rights in third world countries will ultimately help increase consumer satisfaction and businesses.


Although abusing human rights can have some benefits, there always consequences that come along with this decision:


1) Poor working conditions: Violating human rights would have a greater impact on the employees working in third world countries, because human right policies are not taken seriously. Many countries where human rights are neglected have workers who suffer tremendously due to the poor working conditions. For instance, women who come from families that are in a lot of debt, are sometimes forced to work as sex slaves in order to pay off their debt. Many women and even younger girls are tortured in these brothels. In addition, many employees are treated poorly in factories they work in as well. They are expected to work long hours with very little pay. The employers pay very little attention to the safety concerns their employees may face.

Impact on the government

Many governments around the world are starting to put more pressure and attention towards protecting and enforcing laws on human rights. However, there are multiple corrupt governments that simply ignore or even contribute towards abusing universal human right laws. This could be for many reasons:


1) Control: The leaders of these corrupt governments do not enforce these laws in their country due to their own economic and political interests. Enforcing human right laws would mean that the governments would have to allow their citizens to have a voice, which in their mindset would mean that they would lose their control over their country.

2) Violence as a weapon: Many governments believe that abusing human rights is a form of reassurance or a threat to groups of individuals that go against the governments law or beliefs. The genocide in Sri Lanka is a clear example of a government taking advantage of the minority. The Sri Lankan government, who supported the Sinhalese majority, contributed to the deaths of many Tamils minorities who originally wanted their own land. The government consecutively used violence as a weapon to weaken the minority in order to maintain the power that it already had. Therefore, as governments abuse these rights, it allows them to be and feel more powerful. It helps them implement laws that they think would be beneficial to their country. Taking advantage of these rights make it easier for governments to weaken their opponents and get their message across.


Although many governments continue to abuse human rights, they fail to realize the international costs that come along with it.


1) International barriers: Globalization is present in almost every country in the world, which brings along many regulations that countries need to follow in order to continue trade with one another. Usually, when many corrupt countries fail to follow or abuse human right laws, western countries threaten to discontinue or ban trade with the other country. An example of this would be America's embargo with Cuba. Due to Cuba's centrally planned economy, it allows no free elections. This meant that whenever elections took place, it's political opponents were jailed, tortured or killed. Thus, leading America to interfere and discontinuing its trade with Cuba unless Cuba re-evaluated its decision on human rights.

2) Media exposure: Many countries that do use violence as a weapon in order to get its message across do face consequences dealing with its reputation. When genocides or massacres occur in countries that violate its human rights, it is then broadcasted on the news. Thus, creating public problems and ultimately decreasing their reputation they were struggling to maintain.

3) Decrease in economy: Countries that violate their human rights tend to deal with massive physical damage done to their country. Whether its re-building buildings and homes that have been burned down or destroyed, or even supplying an army. Due to these reasons, governments tend to put their money towards replacing and repairing physical damage, that they put less money towards their fluctuating economy. Ultimately, as they busy themselves with killing and torturing their opponents, their economy starts to drop which eventually leaves them in a recession or extremely poor. In addition, as previously mentioned, media exposing a country in a negative way can decrease tourism, which also contribute to a drop in the country's economy, especially if it relies heavily on tourism.


Impact on businesses

Starting a business can be a very expensive investment. This means finding ways to make profit. However, there are many things a business must consider if it was to make profit. Following human rights such as labor costs would be one of the biggest obstacles a business would face. These businesses need to ensure good quality products, as well as paying its employees with a reasonable wage. However, many businesses benefits from abusing human right policies in order to help their company succeed.


1) Quality labor, low prices: Westernized businesses move their companies to third would countries because in these countries, human right laws are not implemented as much or not at all. Therefore it is easier for these businesses to take advantage of their laborers rights and also receive quality products at the same time. These businesses do not have to worry about paying their laborers more if they work long hours. Most of the third world employees are paid below minimum wage which makes less expensive for businesses to pay. In addition, many of these jobs do not come with benefits, therefore this means that there is more money left over for the businesses at the end of the day.


Although many businesses continue to abuse human rights, there are many consequences that these companies have to face:


1) Amnesty International: This is an organization that helps protect and ensure that human right policies are implemented in business plans. With research and analysis, Amnesty International helps detect human right abuse in businesses and then helps convey heavy international fees and penalties on these businesses, thus resulting more money at loss.

2) Hurt to reputation: With the help of human right organizations and the media, many businesses have been exposed to their abuse against human rights. This eventually leaks out to the consumers which negatively impacts demand on the products. Looking at a recent example of the Joe Fresh building in Bangladesh had collapsed killing almost 600 people. The media had exposed the working conditions that these employees had been working in. This incident has significantly impacted Joe Fresh's reputation because it shows a very wealthy country out-sourcing to a very poor country. Obviously the reasons would be because of cheaper labor but good quality products.

So what?

Even though abusing human right policies can have some benefits, the costs of these violations out-do the benefits. Abusing humans rights is a continuous cycle which eventually always ends up hurting the people of a country. Implementing human rights in every country is extremely important because it helps improve many lives and also save them from corrupt governments or companies and businesses that allow this to happen. Also, abusing these rights do eventually impact world business because if workers are not treated well, they will mostly likely perform their job poorly and even quit their job. Human rights is an important issue around the world because it allows for people to have a voice and express their opinion, This factor can be extremely beneficial in business world because it helps create ideas and innovation. Violating human rights is most common in third world countries where governments put their attention and money towards violence. If these countries were to put human rights into practice, less money would need to be put into wars and more money could be put into places where most needed, such as businesses or corporations. Therefore, it is crucial that we start to force human right policies around the world in order to see growth in the world's economy.

Embezzlement

Background information of the issue

Embezzlement is a form of “white collar crime” which is related to fraud within business companies. The range of embezzlement can vary starting from workers stealing a few dollars for pocket money, or large corporations falsely put millions of dollars in expenses and putting them directly in their personal accounts. It is a crime that involves the improper use of someone money which is lent to a “trusted owner” and they use it for purposes that it should not be used for or steal it.

According to “The White Collar Crime Fighter”, there are three factors that must be presented when committing embezzlement. (Triangle of Fraud)
1) The Need Factor- The reasoning behind the need for the money
2) The Opportunity Factor- Perception of when there will be a low chance of you getting caught.
3) Rationalization Factor- When the employee is scheming and knows how to turn their illegal act into something that will fit under the code of conduct and ethics of your business.

Impact on the citizens

Embezzlement also has an effect on citizens such as higher prices for goods and services, loss of jobs or lower wages. When a company suffers from this fraud this will cause them to increase their prices for the goods, which means consumers will have to pay more. This could affect a company in the long term because people will look for alternative ways to fulfill their needs that the company may be providing. If there is money missing from the company, the company will also have to find alternative ways to pay for their employees and it could mean to reduce their wages, or people will be un- employed. Therefore, the process of embezzlement does not only effect short term it has a long term effect on the citizens and employees working at the company. People that are the embezzlers usually like to rationalize and make their illegal crime into something more ethical when caught. They could say that it will really not affect the company and that it could possible benefit them since prices for their products could risk which mean you are making more money. The opposite actually occurs where the company loses customers to rise in prices and the company could go into debt.

impact on the government

Embezzlement that occurs in the government/ political is when they misuse there power for illegal reasons such as rising taxes for the consumers for future developments in the country and not go forth with the plan and use the money for personal reasons. Another term for this is called graft, where political government’s such as federal, provincial, or local governments take money from citizens and use it for reasons that are not helping out the country or citizens. An example of this would be, making police officers catch certain amount of people going against the law such as speeding, texting/on the phone while driving to gain money for the government. If they don’t reach that target there could potentially be a loss in jobs or funding for the police department from the government. The government also has the power to make laws for employees that embezzle, and they vary from fines to jail time. If you are given a fine, it could mean that you have to pay the money back that you have stolen, or pay an extra amount. On the other hand, if you get caught doing embezzlement you can also go to jail from a range of 30 days up to 30 years depending on the intensity of the crime.

impact on businesses

Someone that is an employee is there to help promote and to represent your business may be someone taking advantage of it and stealing from the company. Embezzlement in a business corporation could mean net loss, loss of trust, and there are affects to accounting as well. A company can be in net loss if there is money being used for different purposes or assets of a company are being overly used or missing. This ties in with accounting, because your company will believe that there is less inventory and will purchase more costing the business. If embezzlement does occur in a business, there is a loss of trust not only with the person that has committed the crime but also with other employees. Some after effects of that would be stricter rules that the owners may apply on all employees, and potentially be a watch on all employees’ actions. For example, checking in how much money is in the cash register every other rather than at the end of the day. This could be beneficial because it could minimize the risk of it occurring again.

By: Harshiya, Meera & Nitasha