Tension Between Businesses Interests in Maximizing Profits Term Paper

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tension between businesses interests in maximizing profits and the public's interest in receiving complete, truthful, and non-misleading information about products that they purchase.

The dangers against greenwashing are that consumers will have no confidence in the products or services they are buying. This means that they will not purchase specific items. As they feel they are being deceived and cheated through false labeling / misrepresentation. At the same time, there is the possibility that a firm could face penalties from government regulators who feel that they are engaging in false advertising. This will have a negative impact on the image of the organization and their ability to address the needs of customers in the future. ("Six Sins of Greenwashing," 2007)

For an executive; it is advisable to not practice these kinds of policies. The reason why is because it will hurt the brand image of the products they are selling and invite an investigation into their procedures. This can result in the company losing customers who feel they were deceived based upon the tactics that were utilized in the process. When this happens, there is a realistic possibility that these issues will negatively impact the finances of the organization. This will create a decline in market share and their earnings. It is at this point, when these issues will impact the economic viability of the company over the long-term. ("Six Sins of Greenwashing," 2007)

Identify one environmental law that is relevant to your past, current, or future employer.

One law that is relevant to my previous employer is the Clean Air Act. This law is pertinent because I worked for a power plant. The emissions they submitted into the air were constantly regulated in order to determine if they were in violation of these provisions. To maintain compliance with these guidelines, they would utilize new technology to help curb the total amounts of pollutants and measure their activities. At the same time, they engaged in practices such as the purchase of emissions credits. This is when the firm would buy credits from other companies that were bellow these standards and sell them to those who may be slightly above. The power plant sometimes purchased additional credits during times when they knew their emissions were going to be higher. ("Clean Air Act Summary," 2013) (Casper, 2010)

In this case, the environmental regulations hindered the business. This is because they were not tough enough to force some kind of radical change in the way it was operating. Instead, a middle ground approach was taken, which imposed these guidelines selectively on the plant. However, in the event that they did not follow the law, is the point when they would have a way of reducing their emissions on paper. Yet, in reality, it was polluting more than it should. This is going directly against these provisions. ("Clean Air Act Summary," 2013) (Casper, 2010)


I. Introduction

II. Ethical outlooks

1. Deontological

2. Utilitarianism

III. Relevant Laws

1. Clean Air Act

2. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

3. Kyoto Protocol

IV. Discussion of the Law

1. How both regulations are relevant

2. Impact on the producers and stakeholders.

V. Recommendations

1. Possible strategies for improving these regulations.

VI. Conclusion


Over the last several years, the issue of power generation has been increasingly brought to the forefront. This is because the majority of plants (44%) are using coal-based technology. These facilities are more cost effective and can utilize a readily available natural resource which is inexpensive. However, in the process of producing electricity is when the emissions can create harmful side effects. The most notable include: sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, particle matter and mercury. (Casper, 2010)

The combination of these elements is contributing to a decrease in air pollution levels and it has been shown to contaminate the water supply of local communities. Despite these negative environmental impacts, the industry believes that this is the only economically viable approach for producing electricity. This is because they will often cite how natural gas prices have increased exponentially. At the same time, many are opposed to the establishment of using alternative sources. As they have been shown to produce small amounts of electricity and are not cost effective. These areas are problematic, in creating a situation where environmental laws are becoming tougher in regulating the emissions from these facilities. (Casper, 2010)

Yet, the industry is unable to create an effective strategy for controlling emissions and have often relied on schemes designed to benefit them. The most notable is with the trading in carbon credits. Under this approach, those plants which are above the legal levels will be able to purchase credits from others who are not polluting as much. They can apply these credits to their own emissions. This gives them the appearance of following the different guidelines for these standards. (Casper, 2010)

However, the reality is that these plants have done nothing to decrease the overall amounts of pollution. Instead, they are utilizing a scheme that is not curtailing their activities or the negative impact it is having on communities. Over the course of time, this has resulted in power plants maintaining the same emissions levels despite tougher environmental regulations. (Casper, 2010)

This is problematic, in showing how the industry and many facilities are ignoring the legal and ethical obligations they have made to stakeholders. If left unaddressed, these challenges will create a situation where new and existing regulations are ineffective. At the same time, there is a possibility that the health of various communities will suffer more from these policies. This is illustrating how there are legal and ethical issues which must be addressed in the process. To fully understand the overall scope of these challenges requires carefully examining these variables and the long-term impact they will have on stakeholders. (Casper, 2010)

Ethical Outlooks

From an ethical perspective, the challenges impacting power plants are creating conflicts of interest. This is occurring with various environmental regulations designed to protect the safety of the public and the regions they live in. Yet, many of these guidelines are not aggressively enforced and contribute to even greater challenges in the future. This is illustrating how there are conflicting ethical concerns which is negatively impacting stakeholders. (Lewis, 2001) (Reitze, 2001)

Two different perspectives that are used in supporting these outcomes include: deontology and utilitarianism. Deontology is when there is a focus on determining what is rationale based upon the actions that are taken. This is accomplished by looking at the long-term effects it is having on everyone. When this applied to coal producing power plants, it is clear they are ignoring these provisions. This is occurring with them not following these guidelines or carefully evaluating the long-term impacts of their activities on everyone. Instead, they are concentrating on what is best for the firm and its shareholders. (Lewis, 2001) (Reitze, 2001) (Casper, 2010)

At the same time, various environmental regulations were enacted to ensure that the public and the industry's interests are taken into account. This is occurring through having tougher policies to control emissions. While ensuring, that producers have the ability to make adjustments to the tougher standards. As a result, these changes are leading to negative consequences for communities and the environment. This is because the sector is not following the same kind of philosophy as regulators or the general public. Instead, they are concentrating on what is best for them and how they can find loopholes to avoid following these provisions. In this aspect, the deontology approach has failed to address the root causes of the problem. (Lewis, 2001) (Reitze, 2001) (Casper, 2010)

Utilitarianism is when there is a focus on the means justifying the end result. Under this approach, everyone will concentrate on achieving the greatest amounts of good through the usefulness of the long-term consequences. This means that the greatest amounts of happiness will be generated by balancing pleasure over pain for the entire group (i.e. The largest number of people). (Lewis, 2001) (Reitze, 2001)

In the case of coal producing power plants, many will argue that this strategy is being utilized by the industry. The reason why is because it is the most economically viable way to generate electricity without increasing utility bills dramatically. If these facilities were forced to make a shift in their strategy, there is a realistic possibility that they will help to increase costs for businesses and consumers. This will have an adverse impact on economic growth with many people cutting back on their spending. (Lewis, 2001) (Reitze, 2001) (Casper, 2010)

When this happens, the economy will realize a dramatic slowdown (which is accompanied by high levels of inflation). To prevent these issues, many insiders will argue that this ethical perspective is morally correct. This is based upon the fact that society and the economy will benefit from the current provisions. In this case, it is setting air quality standards for everyone to follow and ensuring that producers are not negatively impacted by overburdening them with these regulations.…[continue]

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