Sustainable Management Futures

Sustainable Management FuturesSome years ago, a large German chemical firm, BASF, decided to follow the lead of many other European firms and build a factory in the United States. BASF needed land; lots of it (1,800 acres), and an inexpensive labour pool, almost 5 million gallons of fresh water every day, a surrounding area free of import taxes and a nearby railway and ocean port. The spot the company finally picked seemed perfect, an area near the coast of South Carolina called Beaufort. It purchased 1,800 acres of land. South Carolina and Beaufort County were pleased with BASF?s decision. The surrounding area, from which the company would pick its workers, was an economically depressed area and the per capita income stood well below the national average. Jobs of any kind were desperately needed. Even the Governor of South Carolina and his staff were eager for BASF to build in South Carolina and although BASF had not yet finalized its exact production plans the state Pollution Central Authority saw no problems with meeting the State pollution laws. BASF itself said that although it would dump chemical by-products into the local Collection River, it planned not to lower the river?s quality. But trouble started immediately. To see why, one needs to know that Beaufort County is the home of the internationally famous resort area called Hilton Head. Hilton Head attracts thousands of vacationers every year ? most of them with plenty of money ? and its developers were worried that the scenic splendour of the area might be marred by the air and water pollution. Especially concerned about water pollution, resort developers charged that the proposed chemical plant would pollute the Collection River. They argued that BASF plants in Germany had polluted the Rhine and, in Belgium, the pollution control was allocated only one million dollars. The citizens of Beaufort County, in contrast to the Hilton Head Developers, welcomed BASF. They presented the company with a petition bearing over 7,000 signatures endorsing the new plant. As one local business commented, I would say 80 percent of the people in Beaufort County are in favour of BASF. Those who aren?t are rich. The manager of BASF?s US operations was clearly confronted by an economic and moral dilemma. He knew that preventing massive pollution was virtually impossible and, in any case, outrageously expensive, the eagerness of South Carolina officials for new industry suggested that pollution standards might be relaxed for BASF. If it decided to go ahead and build, was the company to push for the maximum pollution control it could get away with under the law? Such a policy might maximize corporate profits and the financial interests of the shareholders, while at the same time it would lower the aesthetic quality of the environment. It might make jobs available to Beaufort County while ignoring the resort industry and the enjoyment of vacationers. Moreover, the long-term effects of dumping chemicals were hard to predict, but past experiences did not give the manager a feeling of optimism. Pollution seemed to be not only a business issue, but a moral one. Task Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of deontology and discourse ethics (Fisher, Lovell, and Valero-Silva, Chapter 3). Use these approaches to evaluate how they could be used by the manager in making a decision as to whether BASF should go ahead with building the factory at Beaufort Country Park. (1500 words):

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