Business Ethics

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United States vs. Iverson
CH2O is a company that blends chemicals to create products such as acid cleaners, and then ships the blended chemicals in drums to the customers. After the drums containing the chemicals reaches the customer, CH2O asked that the customer returned the drums to be reused. Once the drums were returned, the company cleaned the drums themselves, and wastewater was produced in the process. Because the local sewer authority would not accept the wastewater, CH2O discharged the wastewater illegally by means of an apartment complex drain and a warehouse owned by the company. CH2O continued to dispose of the produced wastewater by these means until 1995, when investigations emerged on CH2O for discharging pollutants into the sewer. Iverson, the founder, president, and chairmen of the board for CH2O, was charged with four counts of violating the Clean Water Act (CWA), the Washington Administrative Code (WAC), and the City of Olympia’s Municipal Code (Olympia Code), and was found guilty. Iverson then appealed the case, but his arguments were found to be invalid.

Businesses should be run using a set of simple ethical guidelines that will help ensure the cases like Iverson’s do no happen to them. If Iverson had followed the practical steps of the WPH Framework for Business Ethics, he would not be in his current predicament. When making an ethical decision for the company, the managers should consider three groups outlined in the WPH Framework for Business Ethics: Who the decision will affect, what purpose the company is pursuing, and how the business will meet the action-oriented business behavior.

When the local sewer authority refused to accept CH2O’s wastewater, Iverson instructed the wastewater to be disposed of through the sewers of buildings other than the one in which CH2O operated. This process released many foreign pollutants into the city’s water and may have caused damage or harm. If Iverson had considered the first step...
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