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There is an ethical and moral responsibility businesses have, but it is difficult to enforce. There is also a practical responsibility.
Businesses, especially those that consume resources, have an ethical and moral responsibility to use those resources and to dispose of wastes in a way that does not harm employees or the citizens that live where that business does.
Businesses that do not do so are fundamentally unsustainable. These companies need clean air, clean water, and a healthy workforce. The environment affects all of those things.
From a practical standpoint, businesses will be more profitable in the long run if they are sustainable in terms of resources.
Businesses have a lot of responsibility when it comes to helping and conserving the environment. When businesses do so they are not only helping the environment but saving money for themselves too.
Many businesses find that recycling is a great way to help the environment. Paper, cans, glass and plastic are all materials that can be recycled. Something else that businesses should do to be more environmentally responsible is use emails as much as possible. This is a great way to cut back on paper. When paper is used it should be printed on both sides of the paper if possible. In addition, turning off equipment is a great way to conserve energy (and money).
In a capitalist system firms have no responsibility to the environment. They only have a responsibility to their owners. They are supposed to make as much money as they can within the law.
The responsibility to the environment rests with all of us who are consumers. If we really want the environment to be improved, it is up to us to "vote" for that with our dollars. If businesses see that they can make money through "green" things, they will produce those things. But it is the reponsibility of the people and not the businesses to make sure this happens.
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