Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) for Business in the Manufacturing Industry to Curb Climate Change

Date:  2021-06-18 04:48:20
6 pages  (1765 words)
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University/College: 
Carnegie Mellon University
Type of paper: 
Case study
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This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

Introduction

The field of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has become important around the world. In essence, the role of businesses has undergone changes, resulting in increased awareness of the impact of business as they interact with environmental and social issues. In the manufacturing industry, companies are obliged to some responsibilities, for example, eliminating business practices that have adverse impacts on the environment. In fact, the organization today are expected to show that their businesses stand for something more than just making profits and that they add some value, or at least they do not undesirably affect the public around them (Ledwidge, 2007). Boyd et al. (2007) defined CSR as the general sense that reflects obligations to the society, as well as the stakeholders within societies that are impacted by the entity. Beckmn et al. (2009) highlighted that CSR reflects the businesss status and activities vis a vis community responsibility. For this reason, CSR is about developing in the ethics. Businesses in the manufacturing industry are major contributors to climate change, which is usually via greenhouse gas emissions, which subsequently cause global warming. For this reason, they have a responsibility of capitalizing on clean or green business practices so as to eliminate the menace of climate change that has significantly led to adverse environments because of pollution owing to the release of the greenhouse gasses. The purpose of this paper is to utilize CSR theories, ethical, teleological, and deontological theories. For this reason, the paper will propose a recommendation that will promote CSR initiatives towards controlling pollution.

Problem Description and Statement

The manufacturing industry is one of the primary causes of air pollution because the operation of factories and businesses leads to the emission of pollutants to the atmosphere, including water vapor, methane, ozone, nitrous dioxide, carbon dioxide, and chlorofluorocarbons. Carbon dioxide is mainly released from manufacturing businesses that burn fossil fuels, including coal, oil, and natural gas, as well as burning wood products, trees, and solid waste. Methane emanates from decaying organic wastes, and in particular, in solid waste landfills. Nitrous oxides are mainly emitted during industrial and agricultural activities, as well as the combustion of solid waste and fossil fuels. On the other hand, fluorinated gasses, such as hydrofluorocarbons, chlorofluorocarbons, sulfur hexafluoride, perfluorocarbons, are synthetic and powerful greenhouse gasses that are in most instances emitted from industrial processes. The sources of the greenhouse gasses are multiple, and federal agencies classify them as scope 1, scope 2, and scope 3. For scope 1, these include direct emissions from a variety of onsite sources, such as natural gas combustion in boilers, refrigerant equipment leaks, and combustion of fuel in fleet among other sources (U.S. DOC, Office of Security, 2012). Scope 2 greenhouse sources comprise indirect emissions that are associated with the consumption of purchased electricity (U.S. DOC, Office of Security, 2012). As the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Security (2012) reports, scope three sources entail indirect emissions sources left out in Scope 2, including federal employee commuting and business travel.

In essence, from a scientific perspective climate change is mainly caused by these heat-trapping emissions in the atmosphere, and they usually come from the extraction and burning of massive amounts of oil, coal, as well as the annihilation of tropical forests. One way of measuring the contribution of a business to greenhouse gas emissions that subsequently cause climate change is the carbon footprint. The carbon footprint usually measures carbon dioxide emissions expressed in metric tons of carbon dioxide per year (mt CO2). The United States is one of the largest carbon footprints, owing to increased industrial and manufacturing capabilities. For instance, between 1940 and 2004, the U.S. was responsible for 28% of the global carbon dioxide emissions. However, the primary source of the carbon footprint is the combustion of fossil fuels to satisfy the growing needs of energy. These fossil fuels include coal, petroleum, and gas, which are the primary energy sources for fuel in manufacturing business practices, including the manufacturing plants, and commercial buildings, transportation of manufacturing raw materials, as well as industrial running of the machines, and these are the biggest contributors of greenhouse gas emission in the USA.

Climate change leads to global warming, which is an increase in earthly temperatures. For instance, the World Health Organization asserts that in the last 130 years, the world has warmed by 0.85 degrees Celsius, leading to melting of ice caps and glaciers and changes in precipitation, leading to drought and famine in some areas of the world, floods, health issues, and extreme weather events (WHO, 2016). As the World Health Organization (WHO) stipulates, climate change negatively affects the environmental determinants of health, including clean air, sufficient food, safe drinking water, and secure shelter. In addition, the WHO points out that between 2030 and 2050, climate change is expected to cause 250,000 additional deaths yearly owing to malaria, heat stress, diarrhea, and malaria (WHO, 2016). The direct damage to the cost of health is approximated to be U.S. $2.4 billion annually by 2030. Also, areas with weak health infrastructure in the developing countries will be the least able to cope. For this reason, businesses in the manufacturing industry should consider CSR initiatives because environmental pollution causes adverse effects to the environment. The reduction of greenhouse emissions through better manufacturing practices will result in better health, fewer famines, cooler global temperatures, as well as reverse the adverse effects of climate change.

Analysis

Approaches to Climate Change Mitigation

The first approach that manufacturing businesses have adopted is mainly not using CSR initiatives. In fact, many businesses in the manufacturing sector disregard CSR and the environment. This path is what has contributed to climate change, which is detrimental and has numerous cons compared to the pros. In essence, it would result in more pollution, destruction of ecosystems, and a bad image of businesses among the citizens. Another disadvantage is it would cost businesses money, which would cut down their profits as clients will not purchase products from these firms. The pros are that the path will not be expensive for businesses as they can concentrate on making profits and disregarding CSR initiatives, which would otherwise cost them money.

The second approach taken is that businesses have continued with the current way of conducting business, through which some firms have adopted CSR initiatives, but others have not. As such, this path will not disrupt the current state of affairs. As such, businesses have continued to pollute the environment through the release of greenhouse gasses, which worsens climate change. As such, this initiative abhors the use of electric cars or use of renewable energy so as to reduces greenhouse gas emissions. The initiative has more cons compared to benefits. The rate of pollution will increase resulting in loss of biodiversity and air pollution, which can increase respiratory diseases. Also, businesses that undertake CSR initiatives will have better public images compared to those that do not, which is disadvantageous. The pros of adopting the path are that businesses might continue enjoying profits at the expense of CSR initiatives. Also, businesses will not be interrupted, meaning that the status quo will remain. Furthermore, businesses will not be obliged to adopt CSR initiatives, and thus, they can adopt strategies that they deem fit.

The last approach, which is manufacturing businesses should adopt CSR initiatives. From taking CSR initiatives, businesses voluntarily get a social license to operate as they have a better image compared to those businesses that have not taken such steps. For instance, to eliminate the greenhouse emissions from the transportation of raw materials and finished products in the manufacturing industry, businesses need to adopt the use of electric cars and vehicles instead of the conventional ones which use fossil and petroleum fuels. Electric vehicles do not emit any greenhouse gas, and thus, they can play a great role in mitigation of climate change. Many fossil fuel driven cars can subsequently be converted to use electricity. In consequence, these would impact positively on transportation as the net result would reduce greenhouse gasses methane, carbon dioxide, and nitrous oxides, as well as a reduction of total nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, and volatile organic compounds. The pros are that electric cars are quiet and quick, as well as smooth compared to conventional cars that rely on petroleum products. They have a high torque, and thus, acceleration and breaking are optimum. They can be charged at home or any other place with electricity, making them convenient. They can be charged overnight, and the next day they are ready to be driven 80 miles or more depending on the model. Besides, they are cheaper to operate as they have higher efficiency compared to the conventional ones. Also, they do not have emissions, making them effective in improving air quality by eliminating greenhouse gas emissions. However, they have limitations. They have long fuelling times as an hour of charging from a 240 volts source of electricity can only add 20-25 miles. For this reason, they are not advisable for use in road trips. They also have a limited range of travel of between 80 to 100 miles. They are more expensive compared to conventional petroleum is driven vehicles. Also, they are little in the market, and thus, consumers lack a variety of choices. Besides, use of renewable energy is paramount to reducing pollution. The strategy of using electric vehicles has not worked in the past mainly because EVs are expensive and would demand businesses to deploy resources that would otherwise be expensive.

Justification of the CSR using CSR Theories

According to Garriga and Mele (2004), ethical theories focus on the ethical requirement that significantly strengthens the relationships between the society and business, usually based on principles that express the right thing to do and to achieve well in the society. It can be argued that applying CSR initiatives is paramount as it facilitates sustainable development. Releasing greenhouse gasses is not sustainable or right for the society as it induces poor health such as respiratory diseases, famines, and destruction of ecosystems among other adverse effects. For this reason, CSR is supported under the ethical theories. CSR is also supported in the teleological moral theories. Frederiksen (2009) applies egoism in explaining why businesses should adopt CSR. Egoism in a company stipulates that the company should refrain from doing harm only when it is beneficial to the company. Adopting CSR is advantageous for firms because the brand becomes recognized positively, hence attracting clients, leading to profits. Also, based on the utilitarianism approach, by adopting CSR enables the business in the manufacturing sector to promote the best possible outcome. Lastly, from deontological moral theories, using common sense morality, it is only right that businesses reduce greenhouse gas emissions because they pollute the atmosphere, which can subsequently harm people. Besides, based on...

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