Corvinus
Corvinus

Environmental ethics for business sustainability

Zsolnai, László (2011) Environmental ethics for business sustainability. Working Paper. Corvinus University of Budapest, Business Ethics Center, Budapest.

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Abstract

The paper derives operational principles from environmental ethics for business organizations in order to achieve sustainability. Business affects the natural environment at different levels. Individual biological creatures are affected by business via hunting, fishing, agriculture, animal testing, etc. Natural ecosystems are affected by business via mining, regulating rivers, building, polluting the air, water and land, etc. The Earth as a whole is affected by business via exterminating species, contributing to climate change, etc. Business has a natural, non-reciprocal responsibility toward natural beings affected by its functioning. At the level of individual biological creatures, awareness-based ethics is adequate for business. It implies that business should assure natural life conditions and painless existence for animals and other sentient beings. From this point of view a business activity system can be considered acceptable only if its aggregate impact on animal welfare is non-negative. At the level of natural ecosystems, ecosystem ethics is relevant for business. It implies that business should use natural ecosystems in a proper way, that is, not damaging the health of the ecosystem during use. From this point of view a business activity system can be considered acceptable only if its aggregate impact on ecosystem health is non-negative. At the level of the Earth as a whole, Gaian ethics applies to business. Its implication is that business should not contribute to the violation of the systemic patterns and global mechanisms of the Earth. From this point of view a business activity system can be considered acceptable only if its aggregate impact on the living planet is non-negative. Satisfying the above principles can assure business sustainability in an ethically meaningful way. In this case business performs its duty: not to harm nature or allow others to come to harm.

Item Type:Monograph (Working Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords:environmental responsibility, animal welfare, ecosystem health, the living planet, aggregate impact of business on nature
Subjects:Environmental economics
ID Code:424
Deposited By: Ádám Hoffmann
Deposited On:07 Sep 2011 14:28
Last Modified:03 Jul 2012 00:24

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