Find an example from the media that describes a company that was penalized for unethical or illegal behavior. Within the last 6 years
Write a 2- to 3-page paper, in which you evaluate the ethical/legal behavior of your selected company.
Include the following in your Ethics Paper:
â€¢A description of ways the company used communication in the situation
â€¢An explanation of the type of ethical/legal problem the company faced (e.g., was the problem related to conduct, character, an individual, the organization, society?)
â€¢An assessment of how well the company addressed the ethical/legal problem
â€¢A description and an analysis of the changes that resulted in the companyâ€™s policies or actions
Ethics in business is imperative to ensure success and establish a commendable public image. Essentially, a company must engage in ethical practices with regards to various aspects such as conduct, character, individual, organization, and society (Gini, & Marcoux, 2012). One of the highest ranked organizations in terms of unethical practices is Chevron Toxico. Over the years, the company has been accused of several incidences of tax evasion and environmental infractions on a global scale.
The unethical incident discussed in this context relates to practices that affected the society in general. In detail, the citizens of Ecuador filed a lawsuit against the company for allegedly discarding billions of loads of toxic waste into the South American rainforest which consequently resulted in the Amazon Chemobyl. In the affidavit against the company, the unethical practices of this company were highlighted in detail concerning the case. The court ruled against the company in the form of a $9.5 billion judgement. Precisely, Chevron was accused of dumping over 18 billion gallons of its company’s toxic wastes in the Amazon waterways. In effect, this decimated indigenous group and also poisoned a reasonably large area, virtually estimated to be the size of Rhode Island. According to experts, this is arguably the worst case of oil-related contamination on earth. Additionally, the company is accused of committing several other fraudulent acts in an effort to cover up its transgressions.
In a world that is only realizing the importance of environmental preservation and sustainability, the activities of the company against the environment had a vast implication (Haller, 2007). Presently, the company is ranked among the top ten most unethical organizations, mainly due to these acts against nature.
Notably, the communication means used by the company to handle the situation were subject to justifiable critique. In essence, the company attempted to deny the allegations and use its power and influence to sway the court into dismissing the case. It is a noteworthy fact that no apologies were made to the citizens of Ecuador, who claim to have been adversely affected by the company’s actions for the past 18 years (Robin, 2010).
In more detail, Chevron responded by stating that it maintains a minority and non-operated investment through subsidiaries in Ecuador assets. It also stated that the organizations efforts and investments are what help to manage the increasingly progressive demand for energy in the area. Additionally, the company responded to the allegations of unethical practices by pointing out that it supports social and health programs for the purpose of improving the quality of life for the communities in the area. Moreover, the company mentioned that it collaborates with the United States of America Government in engaging in dialogues with Ecuador for the purpose of contributing to the country’ economic development as well as the people’s welfare.
Opinionatedly, this was not the most suitable approach that the company could have taken. Effectively, it would have well-advised for the organization to issue a public statement of apology to all the affected parties and make attempts to rectify the damage caused by its actions (Ferrell, Fraedrich, & Ferrell, 2013). This would have been helpful in the prospect of reconciling with both the society and the law of the affected country.
Regardless of the fact that Chevron had to be dragged to court to make amends for its harmful actions towards the environment, some new policies had to be adopted by the company. Most importantly, the organization ceased its unethical habit of dumping toxic wastes in the Amazon and sought out new and more ethical measures to dump its wastes (Ferrell, Fraedrich, & Ferrell, 2014). This was the major problem for the organization. It lacked an appropriate and acceptable dumping site for its massive toxic wastes. Presently, the company is working on rebuilding its public image which was thoroughly soiled during the trial. Essentially, several of the company’s unethical practices were revealed in relation to the environmental pollution. It was alleged that Chevron was involved in several fraudulent deals with respectable officials. For this reason, it is imperative for the company to make attempts to rebuild its image in the eyes of the society and the stakeholders. In this regard a statement was released by the company encompassing its environmental policy. “We believe that healthy environment can go hand in hand with meeting the world’s energy needs. We are continually evaluating and striving to improve our processes to reduce emissions and waste, conserve energy and natural resources, and reduce the potential for environmental impacts from our activities and operations” (Chevron, 2015).
In conclusion, ethical malpractices in business are increasingly progressive over the recent years. More and more organizations are reportedly disregarding ethical codes whether in violation of employee rights, consumer rights, societal rights, or basically breaking the law. Chevron’s activities had severe implications on the environment as well as the inhabitants of the areas around the Amazon. The company’s actions towards redemption and rectification of the situation are indisputably bound to improve the environment as well mend the breach in the organization’s relationship with its stakeholders. It is imperative for every business to prioritize ethics in all its endeavours.
Ferrell, O. C., Fraedrich, J., & Ferrell, L. (2013). Business ethics: Ethical decision making and cases. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co.
Ferrell, O. C., Fraedrich, J., & Ferrell, L. (2014). Business ethics: Ethical decision making and cases : 2009 update. Mason, OH: South-Western Cengage Learning.
Gini, A., & Marcoux, A. M. (2012). The ethics of business: A concise introduction. Lanham, Md: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
Haller, T. (2007). Fossil fuels, oil companies, and indigenous peoples: Strategies of multinational oil companies, states, and ethnic minorities : impact on environment, livelihoods, and cultural change. Wien [etc.: Lit.
Robin, M.-M. (2010). The World According to Monsanto: Pollution, Corruption, and the Control of Our Food Supply. New York: New Press.