Making Ethical Profit In Natural Resources

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Yes business can make profit without the exploitation of natural resources and the misuse of people they work with in making profit. Exploitation means the activities of man such as logging, mining, harvesting of food products and other raw materials to come up with something without making sure of recovering from the state it has been put and it becomes harmful to the living of man and animals as well.

Natural resources are the things in the world which generates itself without the help of man but it is useful to the daily living of man.

There are many arguments as to what profit is and what it should be. Ronald duska, the American college says profit is a byproduct of every business's main objective which is to produce value for all the stakeholders involve and not necessary making profit as the main objective. Others also believe that, every business main goal is about profit because business is about increasing the value of shareholders value and expansion which comes out of profit of the organization.

Mary jo hatch says Without profitability the survival of individual firms and the capitalist economy would be in jeopardy. Profitability depends upon the organization and control of work activity.

Marx argues that profit is the difference between the capitalist combine with those of labor when product or service is exchange on the market for a price higher than the cost of production.

From the point of the local business and enterprises in Ghana which will be the focus of this discussion, the main objective of every business is seen as making profit. Businesses which can not make profit are close down because it can not take care of the expenditure and thus not make much profit to cater for it employees as well.

The timber industry is under the Ghana forestry commission which is responsible for taking care of the forest and the sustainability of the natural resources such as the trees and the wildlife. They are also responsible for giving license to companies and business who want to deal in the timber industry.

In Ghana, the government owns majority of the forest and the chiefs of individual towns own some of it. There are places which are listed as reserve forest which means it should not be cultivated.

The timber industry is mostly individually own business as compared to that of big companies. This is because most people like to run their own business in Ghana and also be their own boss.

The industry employs more than one hundred thousand people (100,000) in Ghana directly and indirectly more than fifty thousand people (50,000).

Timber industry in the Ghanaian economy

The natural forest zone, which covers about 30% of the total land area, can be located at the south-western and southern regions of Ghana.

The sector contributes to the Ghanaian economy massively, Ghana realised Euro 11,703,763 from the export of 35,129 cubic metres of wood products in July 2010 from export as compare to the previous year in 2009 which was Euro 10,644,851 and 33,103 cubic metres showing increases of 9.95 per cent in value and 6.12 per cent in volume respectively.

The industry is now govern by strict laws of the land which has giving the agency responsible for protecting the land much powers to deal with the problems they face. one of such law is the 1999 law pass by the parliament of Ghana, the Forestry Commission Act, No. 571 (Forestry Commission Act, 1999) it gives the forestry Commission the power of protection, development, management and regulation of forests and wildlife resources and be accountable for the forest.

The Ghanaian economy is a broadly divided into two that is the private and public sector. It is describe as a developing country with most of its revenue coming from the private sector.

This means over the couple of years things are improving. The private sector is run by individual businesses which are mostly imports and exports of general goods.

Timber industry is one of the components of the private sector which supplies wood and plywood to both the local and international market. See appendix 1.

The raw materials is gain from natural forest where old trees are cut into logs and taking to the factories to process into woods, plywood and etc. this process of operation can be seen in the machine perspectives theory where a machine operates on the logs into various forms of specifications. The form of the organizational structure is mostly bottom up approach. Where the owner of the company is mostly seen as the chief executive officer and he or she makes all the necessary decision with regards to what should be done. He/she passes his information through his/her manager and he get it down to the workers. The manager is the supervisor but sometimes the owner comes in to see if the proper things are being done. The industry employs a considerable number of the people in the country. A big timber industry can employ up to 3000 people and a small industry up to 200 people.

The process of the business have been group into three

The factory site

Forest process

The transportation system.

The factory site

The factory site is mostly the machine area where the real work is done. The machine does most of the work with the workers helping with carrying pieces of wood and directing the machines movements and also the final part which is arranging the final products in their various groups. Here the metaphor of the classical period where machines are design by a few people to perform a repetitive work is seen here with less supervision from the people.

Recently, companies have started using machines with low fuel emission with the idea of sustaining the environment and not polluting the workers as well.

Most of the market is exported to over seas and also to other African countries. This is because there is a higher demand for the products; it pays more money and also Foreign exchange money as well which is good for the economy.



Forest process

The forest concessions are allocated by the forestry commission of Ghana on behalf government and the chief of the town to individual contractor who wants to harvest timber that year.

The bulldozer makes way for the trucks carrying the machines into the forest such as well as to conveying the logs from the forest. In the process of bulldozer making way for the machines and tracks most other young trees are fell to make way. This leaves the forest with no new breed of trees to grow and also the big tyres of the trucks erode the soil and the end result is erosion. The trees which are felled in the process also destroy other trees which reduce the number of trees in the forest. The felled trees are then taking to the factory to be process into finished products.



The transportation system

The transportation system is an important part of the timber industry especially the big ones. Most of the big industry owns more than 400 t0 500 trucks which carry the logs from the forest to the factory and also from the factory to the port or make deliveries to local suppliers. This helps fasten the work of the industry.

They have the shuttle system especially the big industries to carry their workers in and out of the work place.

One thing which is worrying is that most of the tracks are overloaded during the transportation process and is very worrying when it comes to the road sustainability. The trucks are mostly involve in over speeding which causes many accidents in the past and it left a name behind popularly known as (owuo) in the Ghanaian language meaning death but now road safety laws which says trucks should not be move after 6pm are enforced which has reduce the rate of accidents drastically.



Exploitation of natural resources

Natural resources is the main raw material for the timber industry thus the trees. Due to the climate conditions of Ghana most of the forest zones are found in the south which houses most different species and wildlife as well. This particular industry has change the life of the forest very drastically with Ghana loosing about 30% of the forest annually.

The timber companies looks for a place where there are a lot of grown and old tress which meets their specification and they go in to fell those trees. Most trees are above 50 years. This is normally done by the supervisor who is normally referred to by the workers as bush manager. He draws the plans for which trees to fell and also how many to be felled in a day. This process has always been a problem to the forest due to the cutting of young trees to make way for the mature trees which are the potentials for the companies. The thing is these young trees grow up to become the mature ones, thereby natural regeneration becomes a problem and there will not be any future.

Moreover, losing the forest will not be the only thing that destroys the nature also the wildlife which the forest serves as home is lost through haunting and also their homes are lost which makes them homeless. Most of them have to go deep into the forest and the unfortunate ones are killed by the felled trees.

Most of the soil in the forest zones are slightly muddy which makes it difficult to move the heavy vehicle around and they leave a lot of port holes which generates into erosion therefore not only the trees are gone with the animals but also the soil is also degraded and cannot be useful again.


The UN Brundtland commission in its report of 1987 came up with the term sustainable development, and defined it as "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of the future generations to meet their own needs."

It is almost twenty four (24) years now since this report came out meaning if things were taking seriously at the brundtland commission things would have been much easier now and a better place in terms of sustainability of the environment.

With regards to sustainability of the natural resources (the forest) timber companies are require to pay some amount of money every year to the forestry commission to grow an amount of tree every year by way of replacing those ones that are felled. This process has provided jobs for people living in this locality as well as providing a sustainable environment for all the parties involved.

With this it allows the foresters to know which species needs to be planted to meet the demands of the market and also more importantly the success of the regeneration will depend on the specific aims to be met at specific times. Kula, E 1992 TALKS ABOUT THE BRITISH IDEA OF SUSTAINABILITY "In addition to economic consideration the forestry authorities in the British isles plant trees for reasons of water conservation, prevention of landslides, climatic improvement and providing protection from winds." This means that tree planting has got many reasons depending on where the need arises and in each case a different species will be planted to meet the need. It is also important to take into consideration the soil fertility when planting or artificial regeneration since some species may impoverish the soil at a particular place which must be avoided.

Previously, the scrap products of the timber companies used to be burnt like saw dust at the end of some periods or when they are more this causes a lot of smoke in the environment which is harmful to the ozone layer and also the individuals living in those communities. But now timber industries are enlighten on how to utilize the waste materials to make other products such as plywood. By this way they are on their way to a sustainable world.

People in the industry

The workers are now seen as part of the organization as previously it used to be just laborers who are just paid to work without any better remuneration package and recognition. This can be attributed to the world globalization where everybody now seems to be educated and care for others and they are seen as part of the company. An example is john Lewis in the United Kingdom where workers receive a share of the annual profit and also forms part of the decision making. With this workers are indirectly motivated to work hard and sacrifice for the company to make more profit. (

The chief executive officer is the source of finance and the final decision maker and it is normally a family business with other relatives in higher positions even without proper education. A big company like NAJA DAVID VENEER or LOGS & LUMBER CO. LTD may employ more than 3000 people. This people include the managers, supervisors, laborers, canteen workers, and securities as well. The companies run the shift system working 24 hours a day.

The chief executive officer

This is the person who owns the business, he provides financial resources and is mostly the sole signatory to the companies documents including the bank accounts and others. He is the person with the vision, the driving force behind the business and decision maker of the company. The company is built around him or her and stories are told about them in relation to the company.

The managers

These are the people who pass on the dreams or decisions of the chief executive officer to the supervisors. They manage the day to day paper works of the company. Most of them are related to the owner with few of them who are educated coming from outside that do the paper work. They are normally the accountants because of the tax system and other regulatory standards they have to meet.

Now things are changing because chief executives want results so relatives who cannot give results are sacked and competent people are employed.


These are the people who have direct contact with the laborers in the factory and also in the forest. They make sure the right things are done in the factory in regards to safety measures, specification and on time production. They are in charge of the work force and they send feedback to the chief executive officer directly. They have the means of personal contact with the chief executive officer.


These are the rank and file in the company. They assist the machines to work and also provide help in packaging, placing logs on the machine and many other things. These people work in shift system of 24hours.

The canteen

They prepare food for the workers as part of their basic responsibility. Since it is a large group of people they employ the company find it necessary to provide food as part of the incentives to the workers. Their work is vital because the workers get their strength from them and so they are expected to produce good food to the workers every day.

In all, the workers are treated with respect as much as possible and not exploited in any way. There is a set up committee which listen to the welfare of the workers in general and their personal problems.

The committee is also responsible for free medical care for each worker. In case of accidents at the work place where the person is not capable of working again the committee decides the proper incentive to be giving to that individual.

Chain saw operator

License is giving to people by the forestry commission of Ghana to individuals and companies.

There are illegal operators who are called chain saw operators. They go to restricted areas and fell trees without any permissions or certified license. As a result of this the forestry commission had to set up a special task force called the forest guards from the security agencies to protect the forest reserve.

On the 28 of July 2010, A combined military and forestry taskforce impounded nine timber trucks loaded with logs without conveyance certificate at Juaso. (Source: Ghana news agency).

Almost every company in the world now is looking for ways to improve the sustainability of its environment both here in the UK and Ghana in Africa. Companies like Sainsbury's where their carry bags are made from 50% recycle products and some bags will be replace after use if return to them as a way of them getting all the used bags back. In Ghana there is this hotel in accra called the African regent hotel where they a system which generates electricity and gas from the ceptic tanks they have in the hotel. It uses solar energy as electricity. Moreover it is a non smoking area which makes it environmentally conscious.

In conclusion, businesses can make profit without the exploitation of natural resources and the people they work with. This is possible as shown in the entire report where it is believe that for every successful business the environment is important since the raw materials, labor, capital, machines, and even the end users are found in the environment. Therefore it is paramount important to protect and preserve that environment.