Ethics and Greenwashing

9 September 2016

Your ethical viewpoints continue changing and evolving over time as a result of the different people you expose and interact with as well as the change of environment and situations you can find yourself in. Business ethics are genuinely based on the way in which positive benefits can be made to your business, with high ethical standards will lead to: •Improved employee and organisational morale •Increased ability to attract new customers •Improved customer loyalty Reduced risk of negative exposure and public backlash caused by poor ethics •Attraction of new stakeholders •Making a positive impact on the community Business ethics are important mainly because of the consequences that can occur from the decisions in which lack a regard to ethics. Good ethics may not always lead to high profit for a business, but poor ethical standards within a business can negatively effect on your business in the long term.

The future effects of business manager’s actions could be severe, particularly if there is injury to staff or they are experiencing financial loss. Through poor ethics, many businesses have come into legal cases where people seek compensation for how they have suffered as a result of the decisions of business people not following there ethical standards. In businesses, who share a common goal of being sustainable, it is important for employees at all level to be committed to its ethical standards within the business.

Ethics and Greenwashing Essay Example

As a business manager it is significantly important that you are able to clearly define and communicate with your employees, the ethical standards you expect them to adhere by, and the potential ramifications for failing in meeting such expectations With increased public awareness, and greater attention emphasised by the media on environmental issues, which has seen to put ethical, social and environmental issues as a major focus within firms and businesses.

The increase in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities may reflect different motives of the firm: altruism, strategic choices to maximise profits, and attempts to enhance the image of the firm without significantly changing business conduct often also referred to as ‘green wash’ (Frankendal, 2001). Consumers have shown a recent trend in spending a little extra on environmentally-friendly products, due to the highly anticipated crisis of human induced change to our climate. This has lead to people purchasing organic food, and reverting to non-toxic house cleaning products.

This new brand of consumer behaviour has lead to companies taking drastic action as putting authentic and non-toxic products on the market, which is hard as it has a significant cost, and takes a considerable amount of time. This has lead to companies turning to “green washing” for a quick fix. “Green washing” is a term which really relates to the deceptive claims of eco-friendliness, it is used to describe the nature in which public relations and marketing is promoted through claiming to use environmentally sustainable practices in which organisations claim to abide by.

It is an effective method that companies can adopt to enhance profit or even in gaining political support. Many companies have plainly abused their consumer’s wants, green washing may have been around for several years, and its use has become greater in recent years as companies have strived to meet the ever increasing consumer demand of greener products and services, according to advertising consultancy, Terrachoice Environmental Marketing. Terrachoice also measured green advertising in major magazines and recorded that between 2006 and 2009 the umber of ads rose considerably from 3. 5% to 10%, with this rise predicted to increase rapidly over the coming years. “A major result of green washing, is public confusion”, said Terrachoice vice president Scot Case. But green washing can also pose environmental threats, and that it is indeed harmful as seen in 2008, when the Malaysian Palm Oil Council produced a television advertisement claiming itself as being eco-friendly, with a voiceover throughout the commercial stating “Malaysia Palm Oil.

Its trees give life and help our planet breathe, and give home to hundreds of species of flora and fauna. ” In this case public confusion happens, as advertisement critics including ‘Friends of the Earth’, palm oil plantations are linked to rainforest species extinction, habitat loss, pollution from burning to clear land, destruction of flood buffer zones, and other adverse affects.

The clear evident contrast is considerably unfair as well-intentioned consumers are being misled into purchases that do not deliver on their environmental promise. This in turn means both the individual has been misled and they have lost feeling of their commitment to the environment, which was the likely reason they pursued purchasing the product or service due to the nature in which it is environmentally friendly, and their desire to benefit the environment has been dissipated.

This reaches a stage in which people begin seeing further examples of green washing and they are not sure what to believe, which could lead to long-term financial loss to companies who continue to hope the green washing “con” will work. In National Geographic magazine, in 2004 Ford Motor Company attempted in convincing its readers of its environmental commitments by announcing the launch of a new model car, the Escape Hybrid SUV and the re-modelling of one of its factories, one of their advertisements read, “Green vehicles.

Cleaner factories. It’s the right road for our company, and we’re well underway. ” What Ford wasn’t able to tell its readers, was that its company only planned on producing 20,000 of its Hybrid SUVs per year, whilst continuing to produce 80,000 F-series trucks a month. As well as this occurring, just prior to the campaign release, the Environmental Protection Agency announced that Ford had the highest fuel economy of all major automakers.

In this failed attempt to gain an environmentally friendly image, gave the company first prize of America’s top ten green washers of the year. Green washing is a misleading activity, which attempts to deceive the consumer, forcing us to think companies care about environmentally safe practices, more than we originally once thought. Not all green advertising is false, obviously. The continual use of green washing could lead to consumers becoming sceptical of legitimate corporate environmental success.

Hence well meaning companies who show legitimate compassion towards environmental sustainability, have every reason to be frustrated with companies who green wash as they are affecting them in the long term, If one corporation in a particular industry gets away with green washing, other corporations will follow other companies who are green washing consumers, creating a vision of environmental sustainability, but rather the continuing trend could lead to further environmental degradation and hence reduce the potential of living conditions for future generations.

In conclusion, people today are far more aware of green washing and businesses face more imposed ramifications if they choose to take part in such activities from political and law groups. Greenpeace, the environmental group is one group of people who are fighting for some justice for the companies that are green washing, and in 2008 launched a website, “Stop Greenwash” to confront deceptive green washing activities, and to ultimately provide activists, lawmakers and consumers the information they need to hold corporations accountable for the impact their businesses are having on our planet.

It is these type of initiatives as such, there are aiding in the preservation of a greener climate, in which green washing is not acceptable as it abuses the idea of an ethical business. Bibliography Samson, D & Daft, RL 2012, Management, 4th edn, Asia Pacific edn, Cengage Learning, Melbourne. Davis, J. (1992). Ethics and Environmental Marketing. Journal of Business Ethics, 11: pp. 81-87. (viewed 23/03/2013) TerraChoice Environmental Marketing. The Seven Sins of Greenwashing: Environmental Claims in Consumer Markets. London: TerraChoice Environmental Marketing; 2009. viewed 22/03/2013) TerraChoice Environmental Marketing. The “Six Sins of Greenwashing”: A Study of Environmental Claims in North American Consumer Markets. London: TerraChoice Environmental Marketing; 2007. (viewed 22/03/2013) Advertising Standards Authority. ASA Adjudication on Malaysia Palm Oil Council. London: Advertising Standards Authority; Jan 9, 2008. (viewed 23/03/2013) B. Anderson, (2004) Bringing Business Ethics to Life. (viewed 24/03/2013) Jenner, EJ. (2005) Greenwashing: Visual communication and political influence in environmental policy. (viewed 22/03/2013)

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