Third world countries are facing mega issue of pollution. people living in third world countries have polluted air to breath, polluted water to drink and polluted earth to live in. they even donâ€™t have clean air to breath in. a transitional study reveals that hundreds of million children have to breath in so polluted air that is equal to smoking up to 40 cigarettes per day. Rapidly increasing population is a major cause of increased pollution. More people at earth mean more goods and services to develop and produce to meet the needs of immense population.(Barron,2003) It is being expected that mega cities of third world counties will reach 10 million or more population figure in recent years. This increased figure of population will be combined with rapid industrial growth as well. Increased reliance on fossil fuels with rapid industrialization will increase the chances of various diseases (Adams, 2004) such as cancer and respiratory diseases. Children in third world countries are more susceptible of being affected by air pollution; they are smaller and breathe more than elders, polluted air affects their developing lungs, number of children is dying due to polluted water as there are number of respiratory diseases (Adams,2004) developing in children due to polluted water.
Ethical implications of businesses polluting in a third world country:
Third world comprises of poor and underdeveloped countries. In these countries, environmental situations are extremely poor. There is no legal framework or regulations from government to reduce or control activities damaging environment. Third world countries also lack economic resources to implement and enforce environmental regulations. Due to this reason very low or no implementation of environmental regulations is seen in third world countries. Companies from western or developed countries, when go to conduct business operations in these countries take advantage of this dilemma of third world countries (Whitcomb et al.1998). These companies although know very well about hazardous effects of chemical wastes of industry and the procedure to dispose of these materials properly, they dump garbage and chemical waste carelessly in third world countries. They have no fear of government regulatory system and no concern to follow environmental protection rules, as there is no proper enforcement of these laws in third world countries due o economic instability. But for a moment, think from ethical point of view about the actions of these companies, are they right ethically in what they do? Probably not, Ethics require these companies to fulfill their responsibility.(Whitcomb et al.1998) for environmental protection by properly disposing of the hazardous material. These companies from first world countries have enough capital and human resources to carry out these practices. They must build plants which emit considerable pollution. This action will also help these companies to escape from regulations they may face at home.
Some transitional corporation may find third world counties as potential market as they face restrictions from government at home country, whereas governments of third world countries cannot resist these chemicals because it would be too costly to citizens trying to make a living.
First world countries seem to take advantage of situation of first world countries they are in present time. The basic aim is to maximize their profits, but they maximize their profits by doing business at the cost of environmental concern in third world countries. The cost of doing business is already low in third world countries, labor and natural resources are found at low cost and in abundance, this aspect help these companies to earn plenty of profits, but there is no end of wish more money, they further try to save their money by damaging environment and increasing pollution in these countries. Beyond meeting the regulatory requirements, they must view this action from ethical point of view, does their action is right ethically? Are they allowed to leave polluted air to breath, polluted water to drink and polluted place to live without any hygienic concern? Probably not, Ethics require these companies to insert maximum efforts and economic resources to take steps for environmental protection and remove the affect of their actions on atmosphere of these countries. If these companies continue to ignore their responsibility of environmental protection, competitive advantage of third world countries will be diminished over time, as pollution will affect the growth of natural resources and human development breathing in healthy clean air, drinking pure water and living on safe and clean place.
Why business may conduct operations in third world countries:
Third world countries are emerging markets for multinational companies, they find these countries an ideal place to conduct their business operations and find very good market to sell their products and services. There is hundreds of millions of potential consumers in these countries, but there are not enough companies to produce products and services to meet demands of these customers. third world countries face serious issue of economic instability, there are natural resources, skilled labor, (Hill,2005) and is also available at cheaper rates but they have not sufficient capital to invest in order to use natural resources and take advantage of their skilled labor force.
When MNCs come there and invest their capital in these countries in order to conduct business operations here, the benefits goes on both sides. Third world countries that may have not received such credit before, MNCs engage in very useful and morally justifiable activities in those countries. MNCs provide opportunity to people living third world countries, to consume goods and have service of improved quality, and as well as earning higher incomes, (Hill,2005) as compare to domestic firms, because MNCs have ability to pay more than domestics firm due to number of factors. Advocates of theories like dependency theory present fearful images about MNCs.
The negative image of MNCs has resulted in more restrictive policies by government of these countries. Besides, strict laws and regulations for MNCs, some governments has also banned MNCs operation in their countries. Africa and Latin America are examples of such countries that are receptive of negative image about MNCs and these countries have adopted hostile policies toward MNCs. But a careful view on activities reveals a positive image. Even though, primary motive for MNCs to conduct business in third world , (Hill,2005) countries is profits, but they also improve the infrastructure and quality of life of people in third world countries. MNCs contribute toward economic development of third world countries by creating employment opportunities in these countries. Multinational corporations, offer higher wages to employees, they pay higher rents for buildings and land in third world countries they hire for their business. but MNCs are glad to pay for, as they could hire enough of highly skilled labor than they could in developed countries. In return to these wages and expenses, MNCs would earn higher profits even selling their products and services on lower prices. But the fact is that the voluntary exchange system in which MNCs operate would not permit them. Besides those working for charity, few others would for long accept wages they consider to be less than their contribution to an enterprise.
Despite of plenty of profits, MNCs also face various risks associated to conducting business in third world countries such as legal and political risk, regulatory risk, economic risk etc.
Economic progress and environmental protection:
There have been various debates over priority of economic growth over environmental protection. Some are in the view that increased concern for environmental protection will increased economic burden over poor countries and people living there. Some are of the view that pollution is a price of progress. When countries start their journey toward industrialization, environment will probably suffer as result of their activities. Economic growth is good for countries, it provide stability to economies, higher living standards for its inhabitants and help that specific country to start its journey toward progress and development. On the other hand, when expenses are devoted for activities to reduce the pollution or control the activities that cause pollution on earth, these expenses will lead toward protection of environment. As pollution is the biggest danger for environmental, controlling or reducing the pollution will leave us with safe and healthy environment to live in and it will also ensure a safe future environment for our next generations as they also have equal right on natural resources of earth specifically air and water.
Human beings have moral right to livable environment:
Human beings possess basic human rights to live with basic human rights at earth. Regardless of part of earth they are living in, they possess the right to use the natural resources and consume them for healthy living. Being poor or rich do not snatch or devote extra rights to humans. Basic human rights remain equal for all humans on the principal of equal rights for humans at earth. Air and water are critical natural resources and are mandatory for human life at earth. It is the right of each and every individual at earth to have safe and clean air to breathe in and pure water to drink. at the same time, it becomes the ultimate responsibility of every human being living at earth to protect the purity and cleanliness of water and air and do not indulge in practices that can pollute these critical nature resources at earth. Preserving these resources is important is not important only for the present generations, but it needs careful steps to protect and ensure the availability of these resources for future generations as well.
Obligation of wealthy nations:
Wealthy nations possess greater responsibility to protect environment and take practical steps to reduce or eliminate the effects of activities that are harmful for environment. Wealthy and developed nations can play very crucial role in order to ensure safe and healthy environment for present and future generations. These countries have enough capital to invest for environmental protection activities, where poor or third world counties do not. Developed countries also can devote funds and human resources for research and development in order to find out the inexpensive ways to protect environment and introduce the industrial activities that are less harmful for environment.
Proposed plan of action:
Pollution is a global issue; all countries are facing the issue of pollution. It requires a plan of action that can be implemented globally to protect our environment is needed. The responsibility to protect environment and control activities that cause pollution, need to be felt by each and every individual on all levels. Industries are major cause of water and air pollution on earth, there must be a strong regulatory framework for companies to conduct their operations in accordance with this regulatory framework and enforcement of these laws must also be ensured on global level regardless of boundaries. In other words, enforcement must be on global level and there must be a regulatory body that will enforce an implement laws and regulations regarding environment protection.