Contamination of Resources


Nations have paid relatively little attention to the contamination and destruction of the world’s natural resources. Entire forests have been destroyed by people wanting to get firewood or to clear land and by contaminated air and water. Pollution control of air and water was considered a luxury that governments, anxious to attract new industry and to keep the industry they had, could ill-afford to impose. Developing countries assert, “They can’t afford pollution control like Japan or the United States—that’s cultural imperialism.” They unfortunately do not realize that the price for such negligence is too high.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

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An Organizational Challenge


An organizational challenge that has taken on renewed importance relates to ethics and social responsibility. An individual’s ethics are his or her beliefs about what is right and wrong or good and bad. Social responsibility is the organization’s obligation to protect and/or contribute to the social environment in which it functions. Thus, while the two concepts are related, they are also distinct from each other.

Both ethics and social responsibility have taken on new significance in recent years. Scandals in organizations have made the headlines around the world. From the social responsibility, increasing attention has been focused on pollution and business’s obligation to help clean up our environment, business contributions to social causes, and so forth.

Leadership, organization culture, and group norms—all important organizational behavior concepts—are relevant in managing these processes. And because employees know the organizational culture so well that they know they would be expected to respond.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

International Codes of Environmental Conduct


A number of business organizations have developed codes of environmental conduct. Among the most important ones are the following:

  • International Chamber of Commerce (ICC): The ICC developed the Business Center for Sustainable Development, 16 principles that identify key elements of environmental leadership and call on companies to recognize environmental management as among their highest corporate priorities.
  • Global Environmental Management Initiative (GEMI): A group of over 20 companies dedicated to fostering environmental excellence, GEMI developed several environmental self assessment programs, including one that helps firms assess their progress in meeting the goals of the Business Center for Sustainable Development.
  • Keidanren: This major Japanese industry association has published a  Global Environmental Charter that sets out a code of environmental behavior that calls on its members to be “good corporate citizens.”
  • Chemical Manufacturers Association (CMA): The U.S. based industry association developed Responsible Care: A Public Commitment, which commits its member-companies to a code of management practices, focusing on process safety, community awareness, pollution prevention, safe distribution, employee health and safety, and product stewardship. The group is working for the international adoption of these principles.
  • CERES Principles: These are 10 voluntary standards developed by the Coalition of Environmentally Responsible economies that commit signatory firms to protection of the biosphere, sustainable use of natural resources, energy conservation, risk reduction, and other environmental goals.
  • International Organization for Standards (ISO): ISO 14000 is a series of voluntary standards introduced in 1966 by the ISO, an international group based in Geneva, Switzerland, that permit companies to be certified as meeting global environmental performance standards.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

Micro-Macro Dilemma


Producers and consumers making free choices can cause conflicts and difficulties. This is called the micro-macro dilemma: what is good for some producers and consumers may not be good for society as a whole.

Each year thousands of people are killed with handguns. Yet there are producers who make and sell handguns at a profit. And there are many consumers who feel strongly about their right to own guns. But others argue that handguns are a threat to society. They want handgun sales banned sale of all weapons limited. Should gun producers be allowed to sell guns to consumers who want them?

Such decisions don’t have to involve a matter of life and death to be important. People want the convenience of disposable products and products in easy-to-use, small-serving packages. But these same “convenient” products and packages often lead to pollution of the environment and inefficient use of natural resources. Should future generations be left to pay the consequences of pollution that is the result of “free choice” by today’s consumers?

Questions like these are not easy to answer. The basic reason is  that many different people may “have a stake” in the outcomes—and social consequences—of the choices made by individual managers and consumers in a market-directed system.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

 

Product Specificity


Product specificity means the extent to which the use of a product depends on local socio-technical conditions. This is a function of the type of applications to which the product can be put, its inter-relatedness to other products, the local culture, and government regulation. Cars, for example, would sell better in a large country with a good highway system, space to park cars, good credit systems, and availability of gasoline, than in one without. Such complementary conditions for selling automobiles can be taken for granted in the United States, but not in Nigeria. In some countries, air pollution standards limit the level of pollutants that a car can emit.

Baking foods requires baking ovens, which many households in many countries may not have. Foods that require refrigeration may not do well in countries like Nigeria, where very few people have refrigerators. In the local culture there may be taboos associated with certain products. Local culture can also make some features in local products unnecessary.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

Concepts of ISO 140001


This standard provides organizations with the elements for an environmental management system (EMS), which can be integrated into other management systems to help achieve environmental and economic goals. It describes the requirements for registration and/or self-declaration of the organization’s EMS. Demonstration of successful implementation can be used to assure other parties that an appropriate EMS is in place. It was written to be applicable to all types and sizes of organizations and to accommodate diverse geographical, cultural, and social conditions. The requirements are based on the process and not on the product. It does, however, require commitment to the organization’s EMS policy, applicable regulations, and continual improvement.

The basic approach to EM begins with the environmental policy, which is followed by planning, implementation and operation, checking and corrective action, and management review. There is a logical sequence of events to achieve continual improvement. Many of the requirements may be developed concurrently or revisited at any time. The overall aim is to support environmental protection and prevention of pollution in balance with socioeconomic needs.

The standard is not intended to create nontariff barriers or to change an organization’s legal obligations. In addition, it does not include aspects of occupational health and safety management, although an organization may include these aspects in the documentation.

In order to understand the requirements, a few definitions are necessary. Environment is defined as the global surroundings in which an organization operates and includes air, water, land, natural resources, flora, fauna, humans, and their interaction. Environmental aspect is defined as an element of an organization’s activities, products, or services that can interact with the environment. Examples are wastewater discharge, air emissions, and energy use. Environment impact is defined as any change, whether adverse or beneficial, wholly or partially resulting from an organization’s activities, products, or services. Examples are impacts on habitat, water supply, and soil erosion. Environmental objective is an overall environmental goal, arising from the policy statement, that an organization sets for itself and which is quantified when practical. They define how the policy will be achieved. For example, an objective could be to control the temperature of the wastewater effluent. Environmental target is a detailed performance requirement and should be quantified when practical. It needs to be met in order to achieve the objective. For example the wastewater temperature should be controlled between 10 and 14 degrees centigrade.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

The Dynamics of Social Responsibility


The various stakeholders of a firm can be divided into inside stakeholders and outside stakeholders. The insiders are the individuals or groups that are stakeholders or employees of the firm. The outsiders are all the other individuals or groups that the firm’s actions affect. The extremely large and often amorphous set of outsiders makes the general claim that the firm be socially responsible.

Perhaps the thorniest issues faced in defining a company mission are those that pertain to responsibility. The stakeholder approach offers the clearest perspective on such issues. Broadly stated, outsiders often demand that insider’s claims be subordinated to the greater good of the society; that is, to the greater good of the outrsiders. They believe that such issues as pollution, the disposal of solid and liquid wastes, and the conservation of natural resources should be principal consideration in strategic decision making. Also broadly stated, insiders tend to believe that the competing claims of outsiders should be balanced against one another in a way that protects the company mission. For example, they tend to believe that the need of consumers for a product should be balanced against the water pollution resulting from its production if the firm cannot eliminate that pollution entirely and still remain profitable. Some insiders also argue that the claims of society, as expressed in government regulation, provide tax money that can be used to eliminate water pollution and the like if the general public wants this to be done.

The issues are numerous, complex, and contingent on specific situations. Thus, rigid rules of business conduct cannot deal with them. Each firm regardless of size must decide how to meet its perceived social responsibility. While large, well-capitalized companies may have easy access to environmental consultants, this is not an affordable strategy for smaller companies. However, the experience of many small businesses demonstrates that it is feasible to accomplish significant pollution prevention and waste reduction without big expenditures and without hiring consultants. Once a problem area has been identified, a company’s line employees frequently can develop a solution. Other important pollution prevention strategies include changing the materials used or redesigning how operations are bid out. Making pollution prevention a social responsibility can be beneficial to smaller companies. Publicly traded firms also can benefit directly from socially responsible strategies.

Different approaches adopted by different firms reflect differences in competitive position, industry, country, environmental and ecological pressures, and a host of other factors. In other words, they will reflect both situational factors and differing priorities in the acknowledgement of claims. Obviously, winning the loyalty of the growing legions of consumers will require new marketing strategies and new alliances in the 21st Century. Many marketers already have discovered these new marketing realities by adopting strategies called the “4 Es.” 1) make it easy for the consumer to be green, 2) empower consumers with solutions, 3) enlist the support of the consumer, and 4) establish credibility with all publics and help to avoid a backlash.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight