Articles – 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.”

What Is Wal-Mart’s Sustainability Plan?
By: Demetrakakes, Pan. Refrigerated & Frozen Foods Retailer. Apr2007, Vol. 5 Issue 3, p24-28. 3p.

Judging Wal-Mart’s Progress With Sustainability
By: ORGEL, DAVID. SN: Supermarket News. 3/19/2012, Vol. 60 Issue 12/13, p10-10. 1p. 1


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 responsibility.

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 as remain 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 technologies.

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 consumers.

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 warming.

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. phenomenon. Many environmental activists claim the major cause of this environmental crisis on technology.

According to the United Nations Global Compact, “The total environmental burden of human activity is a function of three factors: population, affluence and technology. The product of these three factors determines the total burden of human activity on the stocks of natural capital, on which many of the other capital stocks depend.” Basically what this means to us is that in order for sustainability to be achieved, organizations and policymakers from around the globe must now work together on a common solution.


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.

The requirements below must be met for your paper to be accepted and graded:

  • Write between 750 – 1,250 words (approximately 3 – 5 pages) using Microsoft Word in APA style, see example below.
  • Use font size 12 and 1” margins.
  • Include cover page and reference page.
  • At least 80% of your paper must be original content/writing.
  • No more than 20% of your content/information may come from references.
  • Use at least three references from outside the course material, one reference must be from EBSCOhost. Text book, lectures, and other materials in the course may be used, but are not counted toward the three reference requirement.
  • Cite all reference material (data, dates, graphs, quotes, paraphrased words, values, etc.) in the paper and list on a reference page in APA style.

References must come from sources such as, scholarly journals found in EBSCOhost, CNN, online newspapers such as, The Wall Street Journal, government websites, etc. Sources such as, Wikis, Yahoo Answers, eHow, blogs, etc. are not acceptable for academic writing.  

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