As the role of the environment takes centre stage as one of the pressing problems facing our world, the role of business to aid with climate change projects is increasingly discussed. Government regulations only go far, and without wanting to impose on corporate freedom, governments have less of an impact regulating corporate initiatives on climate change. As Charles Lindblom mentions, “Do we want business enterprises to reduce industrial pollution of air and water? Again we must bear the consequences of the cots to them of their doing so and the resultant declines in investment and employment” (Lindblom, 1982). This leaves environmental stewardship initiatives within each corporate organization and whether the effort to protect the environment while sacrificing profit is acceptable. In the ruthless corporate culture, companies are continually striving to increase the bottom line, to outdo their competitors in terms of market share and profitability rather than in terms of social responsibility. Yet it is these same corporations who maintain the resources necessary to stop the plague of environmental degradation. However, corporations have responsibilities towards the environment just as every citizen does, but in order for them to act they need to be shown that an increase in environmental stewardship can also increase the bottom line.
The criterion that business should use to deal with climate change involves three simple yet effective responsibilities. First, corporations must strive to operate in the best interest of their stakeholders. In addition, as truly global citizens, corporations have the ability and resources which brings about the responsibility to help make a meaningful change on the environment. Lastly, each company using the environment as a means for profit should attempt to minimize the environmental damage caused by their business operations. Although most of these responsibilities are neglected for a larger focus on the bottom line, maintaining these responsibilities can in fact increase profitability and public image while at the same time reducing the significant impact that damage to the environment will have in the future.
Responsibility to Stakeholders
The last criterion for taking responsibility is for corporations to operate in the best interests of their stakeholders. The traditional definition for a stakeholder would be the shareholders of the firm to whom corporations maintain they owe a fiduciary duty to, or in other words, to make a profit for. However, the stakeholders of a firm consist of many internal and external groups, all of whom are necessary to the firm and ensure that the firm is able to make money. As mentioned by Edward Freeman in his article, A Stakeholder Theory of the Modern Corporation, “For whose benefit and at whose expense should the firm be managed?” (Freeman, 1994) Traditionally the questions would be answered as the firm should be managed by its shareholders. However, with a changing of...