Environmental Issues Faced by Business and Society
Research and explain the importance of an environmental issue (fracking, hazardous waste disposal, oil
pipeline leaks, deforestation, etc.) faced by business and society.
Additionally, describe at least two strategic approaches organizations are using to respond to the issue.
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Environmental Issues in International Business
As in the case of some other social issues in the fore, the environmental issues raised are mostly which
disadvantage the developing countries, ignoring or relegating to the background several serious which hold
the developed nations or firms from such nations guilty.
Wal-Mart’s Environmental Sustainability Program
Wal-Mart has been busy telling the world about its sustainability program, requires eventual full energy
efficiency everywhere Wal-Mart operates, according to its 2011 Global Responsibility Report. Below are
two EBSCOhost articles which appraises Wal-Mart’s progress on “going green.”
Role of Business in a Global Environment
During this lecture, we will be discussing the role of business in a global environment as it relates to social
Organizations around the globe are now being asked to take some responsibility for how their business
operations impact their local communities, society as a whole, and the environment. They are now being
called upon to apply sustainability principles to how they conduct business. According to the Center for
Creative Leadership, define sustainability as it relates to social responsibility as “an organization’s
activities, typically considered voluntary, that demonstrate the inclusion of social and environmental
concerns in business operations and in interactions with stakeholders.”
I’d like to ask a simple question…what is the main goal of a business? If you answered to make a profit you
are right! The only problem is that with businesses only focusing on generating profits, terms such as social
responsibility and sustainability was not a common concern among businesses until fairly recently. Now
with the increase in of awareness of the environment as well as the globalization, local and multinational
organizations are no longer able to operate anyway they choose. Gone are the days where they could
participate in harmful and unethical business practices like polluting the environment. Today behavior like
this attracts attention criticism from the public. With increased attention from the government as well as the
media, businesses around the globe are feeling the pressure from consumers as well as the government to
operate their business in a sustainable way. Also, businesses are figuring out that for them to attract and
retain good employees and customers, they need to operate ethically. The politically correct, and only
viable option for businesses was/is to adopt and effective corporate social responsibility program.
In recent years corporate social responsibility has gotten more complex because of the issues that can
arise from organizations competing in a global economy. This is partly due to businesses producing goods,
employing local labor, and using the materials and resources from the environment of the country they are
expanding in to.
Due to an increased awareness of social and environmental issues by both governments and consumers,
businesses around the globe have also had to increase their awareness and effectiveness of their social
responsibility programs. If you watch the news you know that in recent years there have been several
businesses that have been at the center of scandals ranging from illegal accounting practices to poor
treatment of workers. As a result of these scandals, businesses around the globe are responding to
heightened consumer expectations that they incorporate effective social responsibility programs into their
long-term vision and mission.
With all of this being said, smart businesses now take into account the opinions and interests of society as
they are now taking responsibility for the impact their operations can have society as a whole, as well as
the environment. Again, a smart business will go above and beyond any legal obligations to comply with
legislation and will voluntarily take actions that will better the quality of life for their employees and for the
local community and society. It will do this by integrating effective social responsibility program into its
operation and every interaction it has with consumers to stakeholders.
Environmental Issues Faced by Business and Society
During this lecture, we will be exploring a variety of environmental issues faced by business and society.
Organizations can no longer isolate themselves from society and continue to prosper as they once were
able to. An organization must now shift its focus and attention to not only continuing to increase its profits, it
must also begin to be a good corporate citizen. In order for a business to be social responsible as well asremain sustainable, it needs to keep up with emerging global trends as well as remain committed to the
financial obligations it has to both its investors as well as the communities it serves. For an organization to
be socially responsible, it needs to continuously look at and revise, if necessary, their short-term as well as
their long-term goals to remain proactive in keeping up with, if not ahead of, the ever changing
In today’s business climate, an organization being sensitive to environmental issues is of the utmost
importance. Let’s think about this for a minute, almost everything that a business does, in some way, relies
on various natural resources, what the weather is like, etc. Also, all businesses depend on our planet’s raw
materials in some form or another and use energy to operate and distribute their services or products to
Organizations are quickly finding out that not being environmentally responsible can have tremendous
consequences for their business. Also, with 24 cable news networks, the media is also now scrutinizing
how environmentally friendly a company is. Many businesses are now jumping on the going green
bandwagon and producing environmentally friendly versions of their products with the goal of attracting
people that are more environmentally conscious. If you watch commercials some companies are touting
‘now we use this instead of that’ in an attempt to appear more environmentally friendly. You also see some
of the larger organizations moving their production facilities out of certain countries over societal concerns
about child labor.
For organizations, it is very important for them to be proactive when it comes to environmental policy and
regulations, because for many, it is not a priority. They need to have a good grasp of environmental policies
and developments because it really can benefit the organization. In today’s economic climate, many feel
that the economy and the environment are intertwined and that you can’t talk about the economy without
also talking about the environment. Keeping in mind the economic downturn in the United States as of late,
coupled with the increasing concern over global warning, business leaders need to bypass the rhetoric and
begin to understand that the impact of environmental policies and regulations now plays a major role in
their economic activity well-being and is very important.
Many around the globe may not consider the United States to be an environmental leader, which is an
image that many policy makers are trying to change. However, organizations need to understand the
importance of being proactive and jumping on the sustainability bandwagon now because the probability is
high that current and future environmental regulations could have a negative effect on many organization
operations and bottom line. In addition, there are rumors around Washington that the growing concern over
global warming is likely to bring more stringent regulations in the future.
I’d like to shift gears and briefly discuss a strategic approach to respond to environmental issues.
For almost twenty five years we have witnessed corporate social responsibility go from a philanthropic to a
more mainstream approach in which organizations are integrating more responsible business practices into
their business activities, and as a result more organizations throughout the globe are adopting more
responsible business practices as well. In recent years, the general public has also become concerned
about increasing environmental irresponsibility particularly when it comes to increased awareness of global
Since the early 1990s, many organizations have become more involved in proactively responding to
environmental issues. I believe it is due to the fact that more organizations are realizing that their business
practices, actions, and lack thereof directly influences not only their business operations, but directly
influence consumer opinion as well. It wasn’t until the last decade or so that public sentiment became so
much that it become more evident to both organizations as well as policymakers that an environmental
crisis was emerging and should be considered a global phenomenon as opposed to just a U.S.