Should We Go Beyond the Law?
Nathan Randerson stared out his office window at the lazy curves and lush, green, flower-lined banks of the Dutch Valley River. He’d grown up near here, and he envisioned the day his children would enjoy the river as he had as a child. But now his own company might make that a risky proposition.
Nathan is a key product developer at Chem-Tech Corporation, an industry leader. Despite its competitive position, Chem-Tech experienced several quarters of dismal financial performance. Nathan and his team developed a new lubricant product that the company sees as the turning point in its declining fortunes. Top executives are thrilled that they can produce the new product at a significant cost savings because of recent changes in environmental regulations. Regulatory agencies loosened requirements on reducing and recycling wastes, which means Chem-Tech can now release waste directly into the Dutch Valley River.
Nathan is as eager as anyone to see Chem-Tech survive this economic downturn, but he doesn’t think this route is the way to do it. He expressed his opposition regarding the waste dumping to both the plant manager and his direct supervisor, Martin Feldman. Martin has always supported Nathan, but this time was different. The plant manager, too, turned a deaf ear. “We’re meeting government standards,” he’d said. “It’s up to them to protect the water. It’s up to us to make a profit and stay in business.”
Frustrated and confused, Nathan turned away from the window, his prime office view mocking his inability to protect the river he loved. He knew the director of manufacturing was visiting the plant next week. Maybe if he talked with her, she would agree that the decision to dump waste materials in the river was ethically and socially irresponsible. But if she didn’t, he would be skating on thin ice. His supervisor had already accused him of not being a team player. Maybe he should just be a...