Ecological Economics

What is the relevance of the ecological environment to business?

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kipling2448 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

For too many years, the environment was nowhere near being a priority for many businesses, especially those in manufacturing and mining. Waste was routinely and deliberately directed into nearby lakes and rivers. The damage to these waterways was, needless to say, considerable and we continue to deal with contaminated rivers and lakes even years after those businesses were forced to discontinue that activity. Toxic substances like mercury, lead, cadmium, phosphates, nitrates, oil, pesticides and many other chemicals, metals, and sewage have been dumped into previously pristine areas like wetlands and lakes. Medical waste, runoff from the agricultural industry's use of fertilizer, and paints and related chemicals like thinner and acetone were all routinely poured into forests and waters. In short, businesses simply did not pay any attention to the environmental effects of their practices.

Over time, environmentalists and others were successful in putting sufficient pressure on polluting industries while working with government agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency in forcing changes in the way businesses could conduct their operations. Civil suits against particularly egregious polluters coupled with negative publicity, compelled business owners to reassess their approach to the environment. Today, many companies pride themselves on their environmentally-conscious business practices. So-called "green" manufacturing processes are marketed to improve the public image of corporations. Unfortunately, the age-old problem of duplicity remains a serious matter. Distortion of words like "organic" has become just another challenge for those who champion truth in advertising and environmentalism. In addition, many major corporations continue to gamble on the public's ignorance of their activities in foreign, usually poorer, regions. Deforestation in Southeast Asia, for example, by companies marketing their wood products in wealthier consumer markets like the United States, often continues until some activist or investigating reporter discovers and reports on such activities.

The environment receives far greater attention these days than in the past. As noted, businesses fear being targeted by environmental activists and the negative publicity such attention inevitably accrues. Companies can be sued by citizens for polluting the environment, and regulatory agencies can levy fines against those companies. This has all resulted in less pollution resulting from manufacturing and agricultural processes. Vigilance is still required, however, to prevent a reversal of relatively recent gains.

jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Businesses must consider the ecological environment when developing their strategies, as they must comply with local, state, and federal laws regarding the environment. These laws regulate corporate practices such as the disposal of wastes, the recycling and storage of materials, and the emission of carbon dioxide, in addition to the use of public lands and other resources. In addition, some businesses can gain an advantage in the marketplace by appearing eco-friendly or by marketing eco-conscious products that increase environmental sustainability or that promote health to consumers. Corporations in some sectors (such as oil and gas) must appear environmentally friendly to create a better corporate brand in the marketplace, as some consumers and other stakeholders will base their purchasing choices on a company's environmental policies. Finally, using cleaner technologies that are more environmentally friendly can help businesses become more efficient and can help them differentiate themselves from their competitors.

krishna-agrawala | Student

Ecological environment refers to all living and non living thing around us within which we live and work. People have a two way relationship with the ecological environment. An individual lives and work is affected by the ecological environment he or she lives in. At the same time ecological environment gets affected by the people in it.

Relevance of ecological environment on the business is very similar to it relevance to individual. After all, business can be considered as the activities of of people organized in bigger group. The activities of an average business is carried out on much larger scale than an average individual. Thus business and ecological environment influence each other in much bigger way than individuals.

In recent years the business activities, particularly the ones involving intensive use of energy, release of harmful effluents, and using harmful substances are threatening to damage our environment irreversible to a state in which life itself will become unbearable for human beings because of phenomenon like global warming.

Industrialization in general involves, urbanization. This not only changes the life of people because of living in urban areas but also causes deforestation.

Some industry such as paper and furniture are fast destroying the substantially depleted forests. This has not only contributed to global warming, but also destroyed many varieties of flora and fauna.

Of course there scan be a positive side of business also. business can, because of its economic power and its relationship with its employees, customers and other stakeholders, play an important part in protecting and improve our ecological environment.

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Ecological Identity

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