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Bhopal Tragedy: Should Union Carbide Corporation (Ucc) Be Held Most Responsible For Not Imposing Higher Standards On Operations Than Are Required By India’s Laws And Standards?

2002 words - 8 pages

Satya Djojosugito Hugh JuddResearch/Presentation Paper MGMT 320 BBhopal Tragedy: Should Union Carbide Corporation (UCC) be held most responsible for not Imposing Higher Standards on operations than are required by India's Laws and Standards?On the night of December 2nd 1984 in Bhopal, India, a gas leak of Methyl Isocyanate, which is a toxic substance when exposed to humans, occurred in a pesticide plant owned by Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL), a subsidiary firm of the parent company headquartered in Connecticut, USA, Union Carbide Corporation (UCC). The impact of this gas leak has created one of the worst industrial disasters to date. Following the incident, there were 8,000 casualties within the first week, 100,000 individuals permanently disabled, and approximately 520,000 people directly harmed1. The question that lingers is: who is held responsible for these catastrophic damages? After extensive research, it is clear that UCC had the majority ownership of UCIL, was actually capable of imposing higher standards to the operations in Bhopal by using its vast amount of wealth, and were plain out ignorant despite recognizing harmful incidents in other subsidiaries, previous gas leakages, and double standards between their pesticide plants in West Virginia and Bhopal. As a worldwide multinational enterprise (MNE) that has over 500 facilities across 34 countries1, Union Carbide Corporation should have imposed higher standards to the operations of UCIL than are required to by India's own laws and standards.Problem 1- Great amount of ownership in UCILUCC should be held more responsible for the Bhopal tragedy because they had the biggest proportion of ownership in UCIL. In fact, when UCIL was first established in India, UCC held a "60 percent majority" ownership2. Although this amount has been reduced throughout the years building towards the incident to 50.9 percent, UCC still enjoyed the utmost amount of ownership. As said by the famous French philosopher, Francois - Marie Arouet, "with great power comes great responsibility"3. Parallel to this case, UCC's great amount of ownership in UCIL appropriately gives them great responsibility for its operations and outcomes.However, not only did UCC ignore Bhopal's development plan of "requiring dangerous industries to relocate in an industrial zone 15 miles away"2 from the city, but they also enacted in ways contradicting with their own advertisement that they released in India, which said, "the people of Union Carbide welcome the opportunity to use their knowledge and skills in partnership with the citizens"2. Despite Bhopal being an ideal location and had easy access to transportation, if UCC had applied their "knowledge and skills" aptly, knowing that Methyl Isocyanate can be highly harmful when exposed to humans should have made them build the plant further than 15 miles away from the densely populated city. Similarly, considering the great amount of ownership UCC had in UCIL, their negligence on...

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