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Ethical Obligations to the Environment

Businesses are not charities set up to produce goods to be distributed freely or to provide services for free. Rather, maximization of profits is the goal of all producers. In point of fact, for-profit businesses are only established to make profits. Depending on the moralities of their owners and managers, they may or may not believe in the need to behave ethically.

Unfortunately, many for-profit businesses around the globe are known to engage in unethical practices, which is the reason why the government must step in to regulate markets and the practices of various business ventures when it is believed that doing so would be of benefit to society. Predictably, the government is also responsible for introducing regulations to answer environmental concerns on behalf of the people that elect it.

As an example, the disastrous effects of global warming demand of the beverage industry to recycle its plastic bottles instead of producing disposable bottles that are eventually dumped to turn into contributors to further warming of the world. What is more, new regulations may soon require the beverage industry to boost its recycling efforts while reducing the number of plastic bottles that are wasted. The change requires a response which Coca-Cola Co.

, with a commanding market share in the nonalcoholic beverage industry, has already made by means of its new strategic plan. This plan requires the company to create a new product, that is, Coca-Cola in recycled bottles (McKay, 2007, p. B1). Apparently, Coca Cola has made a commitment to be socially responsible (“Corporate Social Responsibility”). It may very well be that other firms in the beverage industry would not rise to the challenge of environmental protection without regulations requiring the industry to boost up recycling of bottles.

On the other hand, with such regulations in place the consumer who elects the government can be sure that the latter has taken a wise stance to protect the interests of all. If the government does not take responsibility for introducing regulations for environmental protection, consumers would elect another government. Of course, consumers are required to choose governments willing to take such responsibility.

Moreover, in the interest of future generations, consumers ought to shoulder the responsibility for choosing environmentally friendly products as opposed to unfriendly ones. After all, environmental degradation is expected to adversely affect life on earth for a long time to come.

References

Corporate Social Responsibility – What does it mean? Mallen Baker. Retrieved Apr 4, 2009, from http://www. mallenbaker. net/csr/CSRfiles/definition. html. McKay, B. (2007, Aug 30). Message in the Drink Bottle: Recycle. The Wall Street Journal, p. B1.

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