The Environment, The Moralist, The Corporation and Its Culture

Business Ethics Quarterly 5 (4):675-697 (1995)
Contemporary society faces a wide range of environmental problems. In what ways might business be part of the solution, rather than the problem? The Moralist Model is one general response. It tends to focus on particular corporations which it treats as moral agents operating within our common moral system. As a consequence, it claims that, with various (usually modest) changes, corporations may become environmentally responsible.This paper contends, on the contrary, that business has its own special “ethics,” which relates not simply to the internal nature of the corporation but also to the corporate (free market) system. Given this special ethics, business cannot in general be environmentally responsible in the manner that the Moralists demand. Instead, more far-reaching changes are needed within corporations and the economic system to promote environmental responsibility. Though the requisite changes are significant, there are forces pushing in the dlrection which the paper identifies
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