Business ethics in the choice of new technology in the Kraft pulping industry

Journal of Business Ethics 17 (5):471 - 489 (1998)
Abstract
The choice of new technology in a resource-based industry has far-reaching implications for its ethical performance. The kraft pulping industry uses considerable amounts of wood as raw material, and regulatory agencies have been tightening their control limits for effluent, solid waste and air emissions. The technological solutions required to reduce the environmental impact of the industry are shown to have the potential of causing social hardship for the mill's employees, the affected communities, lenders, and owners. In some instances, the technological solutions give rise to new environmental challenges. Forestry practices are influencing the public's perception of the kraft pulping industry, its ethical and environmental performance, its profitability, and the properties of its product, which may increase wood requirements. New forestry practices have the potential to reduce the forest land area required to sustain the kraft pulp production at a given level but ethical problems associated with genetic manipulation, phenodiversity, and biodiversity are identified. This paper analyzes the interface between environmental protection, ethics, and choice of technology.
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