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Corporate Environmental Responsibility

Explain some of the challenges associated with Norman Bowie's approach to corporate environmental responsibility.

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In his article "Morality, Money, and Motor Cars, "Norman Bowie (1990) argues that "Business does not have an obligation to protect the environment over and above what is required by law?" (p. 89, as cited in http://ecophilosopher.com/documents/OverView%20-%20Sept.pdf).

Even though corporations produce pollution, which can be reasonably considered to harm some (but not all) individuals, managers are not necessarily morally culpable for such actions. As long as the risks involved in using particular products are known, it is not wrong that some avoidable harm be permitted so that other social and individual goals can be achieved. The level of permissible harm is decided by social consensus when considering the trade-offs between potential harm and the utility of the product.Thus, so long as corporate managers operate their respective firms in accordance with environmental laws, it is reasonable to think that society accepts most of the harm done to the environment by corporations. The evidence for this claim is provided by the fact that most consumers are unwilling to pay extra for environmentally friendly products; demonstrate little effort to conserve resources by recycling; and are unlikely to support increased taxation to fund environmental causes (Bowie, 1990, as cited in http://ecophilosopher.com/documents/OverView%20-%20Sept.pdf).

As a result, according to Bowie's approach, it is unreasonable to place the full blame for environmental harms on the ...

Solution Summary

This solution explains some of the challenges associated with Norman Bowie's approach to corporate environmental responsibility. It also provides a link to an on-line article about this approval for further considerations.

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