Should Businesses Go Green

Topics: Sustainability, Environmentalism, Duty Pages: 7 (2589 words) Published: March 16, 2013
“Should Businesses Go Green”

Recently, environmental issues have converted into a major concern on a global scope leading to economic instabilities; these issues range from preservation and energy use, to deforestation and water shortage. (Videen, 2011) As a result, a phenomenon that has appeared over 20 years, “Green Movement”, has become a center of the discussion. (Fok, 2012) The term “Green” became popular in the context of describing the environmental conscious company, which is concerned primarily with pursuing business practices that would help to ensure long-term sustainability. The concept of sustainable development has been formalized and stabilized over decades; United Nations defined it as “development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generation to meet their own needs”. (UN DESA, 1987) Constant social and political attention to these matters encourages firms to sustain awareness about externalities their operating activities have on the environment, and whether their resource management decisions are viable in the long-run. Social permission theory also challenges to prove the moral foundations for business stakeholders. It implies that a business is not autonomous entity. The behavior of the businesses is legitimized by the social norms of their founder-society; thereby, society has ultimate control over the businesses’ moral obligations and responsibilities. (Hussain, 1999) Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to argue that businesses do have a moral responsibility to the society, which, in fact, forces them to go green. Moreover, in today’s rapidly growing economy, businesses are expected to fully understand that the resources available for future generation are greatly affected by their actions. First of all, I would like to start with two questions that are important in further arguments. Do people, as individuals, at first place, have a commitment to the nature? And if yes, what makes it moral? The fact is that we, human beings, share with other species, be it a plant or an animal, a mutual relationship to the Earth. Our evolutionary process is similar to the one of other species, and in the relation to the natural eco-system we represent one of the species among other species. (Taylor, 1981) From this follows that despite the overall difference between other species and ourselves, we still should consider ourselves as one population of species with them, rather than an isolated population from them. In adopting the attitude of respect for species and nature, in general, as an ultimate attitude, we make a commitment to live by certain normative principles. (Taylor, 1981) These principles are proxy for standard rules that govern our conduct towards the natural world. This is similar to adopting the attitude of respect for other people. When considering the fulfillment of their basic interests, we make a commitment to live in accordance to standard rules that are binding on all people. Therefore, the attitude of respect for nature sets a framework for our obligations and responsibilities toward the natural world. The morality of the obligation could be explained from the perspective of a life-centered theory, presented by Taylor in his publication “The Ethics of Respect for Nature”. This theory says that we owe moral duties to plants and animals as members of the Earth’s biotic community. In other words, keeping everything else equal, we are morally bound to protect or stimulate their well-being for their sake. (Taylor, 1981) The well-being of other species, the same as our well-being, is an end in itself, and in order to help them to achieve their well-being; we should sustain their healthy existence in the natural state. This type of obligation is due to recognition of their inherent value. Therefore, we, as individuals, do have a commitment to the natural world, which is moral. However, to say that this individual moral commitment to the nature is...
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