Redefining Business in a “sustainable” world.

Business Ethics Blogpost

-Kolyaani Gupta

Liberal Economic policies have led to the emergence of a new aspect of business organizations and corporations. With the advent of globalization, business organizations have moved from the constraints of geographical boundaries, whereby they are not affected by the legal constraints of a particular country. This makes it easy for corporations to fidget with the aspect of accountability. A business setup is a key element in generating employment, paying taxes and acting as an engine for a country’s economic development, which means that business cannot be limited to be defined as only an exchange of transactions. Business ethics is defined as the study of business and its key features to assess the moral standing of these features, wherein ethical theories are applied to evaluate and weigh the right and wrong. This enables to generate an optimal relation between the business and sustainability (Crane & Matten, 2016)

The infamous incident at Rana Plaza,[1] located in a small town in Bangladesh, where approximately a thousand workers died due to the building crumbling down in 2013. A fast fashion company owned the building and in spite of being declared unfit for habitation, the workers were forced to come. A utilitarian (Mill, 1998; Ryan, 1990) business approach would actually justify the means if the end served the greater good. This theory would actually look at the greater good of generating maximum output, thus, increasing their chance to generate maximum output. The means to reach that potential of generating the highest profit could be justified by the end as it secures the happiness for the greater good. However, Kantian Ethics (Guyer, 2007), also known as deontological ethics, characterizes duty as a categorical imperative rather than a hypothetical one, and the Kantian ethical theory would condemn the Rana Plaza incident as a violation of the cardinal imperative of duty, thereby deeming it to be completely unethical.

Business organizations are obligated to the consumers for the transparency of transactions; however, the obligations are not only restricted to the consumers. Corporations and organizations have a duty towards their workers and members. Triple Bottom Line is a concept that states that businesses and organizations cannot solely focus on only adding economic value (Elkington, 1999). They have to uphold social and environmental values as well, thereby building an ecosystem of sustainable growth and development