Businesses’ Obligations With Respect to the Environment


Environmental safety, protection and management have been key issues that most governments have taken to safeguard the welfare of their people. There has been great emphasis to both public and private sectors to apply processes as well as encourage habits which are environmental friendly. To achieve this, rules and regulations have been put in place to protect the environment. In addition, incentives and sanctions have been enacted to enhance appropriate behaviour towards environmental safety. The responsibility to prevent environmental damage has been bestowed upon the public sector more than the private sector and there is need to create a balance (Nelson and Trevino, p. 36).

Misuse of natural resources has affected human development in the global scene. Global warming has been experienced as a result of massive destruction of environment and the impacts of climate have affected economic development as well as biodiversity in the world today. To solve this problem companies have been encouraged to adopt corporate social responsibility actions. Companies have been encouraged to eliminate wastes from production systems as well as make maximum use of resources while considering the welfare of people in the present and future (Wagner and Schaltegger 95-108).

In this analysis, the author focuses on issues about ethics which have been encountered by Virgin Blue Holdings, an airline company based in Australia. In addition, the author has analysed the strategies adopted by the company to safeguard the environment.


Virgin Blue Holdings operates in domestic and international air transport services and has been rated one of the largest companies of its kind in the country. In 2001 Virgin Blue Holdings started its operations and has been expanding its business each year to satisfy its customers. The company has a wealth of experienced employees who have contributed to the success of the company (Wagner and Schaltegger 95-108). Despite the good public image the company has, the financial performance has been wanting in the recent years and the company has recorded the lowest net profits in the past few years. However, the company continues to enjoy a good brand image and management team. The company has managed to operate on low debts and this has improved the profit growth (Richardson, 12).

However, Virgin Blue Holdings has been forced to operate on high costs because there are charges that have been imposed by legal authorities to regulate environmental pollution through carbon emission. Various countries are served by the company and the many flights the company make contribute to environmental damage through greenhouse gases emission by the aircrafts. Various strategies have been developed by the management of the company to use low carbon products so as to fulfil the demands of Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (Virgin Blue Holdings Limited, p. 27).

Statement of the view

Many companies in the global scene have been unable to identify their responsibilities on conserving the environment and the appropriate strategies required to reduce the impact of environmental destruction. the challenges being experienced emanate from the poor objectives and values developed by the management of these companies. Lack of strict rules and regulations on environmental protection by companies has resulted into the rising trend on harmful gas emission. In the recent years several measures have been put in place to protect the environment from carbon emissions. Companies have been encouraged to employ professionals with a good understanding of environmental safety as one of the measures to regulate emission of harmful gases (Richardson, 12).

Upgrading the services of companies is one of the most important things that companies should do reduce the impacts of climate change. Companies which adhere to environmental safety ethics should contribute to waste management and they should make plans on how to introduce good business values. As such, modern machines should be purchased to safeguard the interest of all stakeholders as well as protect the environment (Wagner and Schaltegger 95-108). Global warming has been caused by the emission of greenhouse gases from the operational activities of many companies. If this trend continues, the GDP of many countries will be affected negatively.

Justification of the argument

There is a great impact on the social and environmental systems caused by the airline industry and good leadership in airline companies is required to control the activities of these companies. Virgin Blue Limited has a 30 percent customer base and this posse a great impact on the social systems. The management of the company has established strategies to control the costs related to reducing carbon emissions while charging fair prices to customers. There is a great risk encountered by companies in the airline industry because many countries have imposed measures to curb emission of carbon by threatening to reduce the market share to large carbon emitters. These threats have brought about positive results because they have helped reduce global warming (Wagner and Schaltegger 95-108).

There has been an increase on the concern about climate change and companies should focus on improving their operational efficiency to safeguard the social and environmental welfare. The use of other supplies of energy such as bio fuels will help solve the problem of greenhouse gases emission. Companies should become responsible by adopting strategies which reduce negative impacts on the environment by controlling the quantity of wastes emitted to the environment (Virgin Blue Holdings Limited, p. 19).

To reduce the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by the company will help in the compliance with the Carbon Pollution Reduction strategy established by the government. The use of electricity and bio-fuels will help reduce environmental pollution. The company should also reduce the weight capacity of its planes to reduce the emissions. As such, the company will be able to reduce the quantity of fuel combusted and this reduces the amount of greenhouse gases emitted (Wagner and Schaltegger 95-108).

Businesses and companies in the international scene are affected by the changes in climate. Weather changes also affects the policies developed by many companies because they must mitigate the increasing rate of emission of harmful gases. Companies should consider the impact of their actions on the consumers because the costs of waste management are paid by the consumers. Several countries have put in place strict measures to hinder companies emitting carbon from penetrating their markets.

This has reduced the market share for irresponsible companies and this will help improve the ethical standards of many companies in the global market (Wagner and Schaltegger, p. 95-108). Effective leadership is required in many organizations to help develop principles which are ethical. This will help reduce the level of emissions made by organizations and enhance waste management (Richardson, 12).

In my own opinion, Virgin Blue Holdings should research on other sources of fuel that are friendly to the environment. This will help the company work freely because they will not be barred by the restrictions from the trading scheme policy. In addition, the management can apply the strategy of reducing the number of flights as a measure to lower the amount of fuel consumed. However, this strategy will negatively affect the sales of the company. On the other hand, the company can reduce the amount of weight that the aircrafts carry as a measure to lower the amount of fuel that is burned in the air. This will reduce the amount of carbon released to the air. To maintain the profitability of the company the management should invest in other fields as a way of protecting the interest of shareholders.

The actions that human beings take affect and are affected by the activities done to the environment. Pope Benedict opined that “if you want to cultivate peace, protect creation.” This calls for all business leaders to conserve the environment for the welfare of all people. In addition, the words said by pope indicate that having a healthy environment creates peace with God.

It is important that all people adhere to environmental protection, either when doing business or even when doing other activities. The nation provides opportunities to all people and ensuring that it is protected is a majored task that God bestowed upon human beings.

Leaders should establish ethical standards to protect human beings and the ecology. Conducting business in an ethical manner requires that rules and values be established for the common good of all people because ecological crisis affects all human beings on earth. Peace is breached when the environment is in threat. Man was created to become the manager for the nature and God is not pleased when the environment is being destroyed. Issues of moral concern have been encountered in all parts of the world and there is need for people to change.

The Sadhu parable explains how important values are to individuals and corporate enterprises and these values are used to propagate the goals of a business. The parable points out the costs of breaking the bond between ethics relating to individuals are corporate bodies. When people uphold good morals they tend to become concerned about the welfare of other people. Leaders have the responsibility of protecting other people who might be in danger. Leaders operating in diverse environments should take valuable responsibilities which are beyond the personal advantage. The parable of Sadhu shows how all people in the trail had a contribution towards the success if Sadhu by providing his safety. This is an indication that solidarity brings about success (Richardson 118-123).

Most business persons believe that the main aim of conducting business is to make profits as explained in the article “enlightened self interest within businesses.” In the corporate world businesses are perceived to serve only the interest of the shareholders. However, businesses exist to serve the needs of all people. Companies which resort to serving their own interest make a lot of losses.

The needs of an individual affect the needs of the society and ethical leaders should encourage people to take responsibility for the actions of other people. The concern for the welfare of other people is a concern about the welfare of oneself. Therefore, when people are concerned about the welfare of other people a healthy living is experienced and this reduces conflicts and chaos in the society (Richardson, 108).

Personal experience

At Queensland ranch based in Australia I experienced irresponsible environmental activities from the meat industry. The industry carries out production systems which enhance emission of greenhouse gases. Beef production is one of the largest agricultural activities practised in the area and this has resulted into emission of harmful gases from ruminant gases. Ruminant gases are emitted when fermentation occurs in cattle, burning vegetation as well as the massive use of fossil fuels in the beef farms (Meat and Livestock Australia, p. 27).

Applying a grazing system that cannot affect the soil carbon has been a major challenge for the management of these farms. The management encounters the challenge of minimizing the greenhouse gasses emitted to the atmosphere. The beef industry has applied scientific methods to determine the carbon emitted to the atmosphere. This approach has made it difficult for the companies in the industry to make compliance with the standards set by the government. The approach has failed to accommodate global policies and regulations on combating greenhouse gases (Nelson and Trevino, p. 102).

The quantity of litter biomass is affected when climate conditions vary instantly. The amount of vegetation cover determines the litter biomass while the amount of rainfall determines the amount of vegetation cover. Large amount of litter compared to forage are obtained during dry seasons. When people clear vegetation to make ranches a lot of carbon is emitted because the vegetation decomposes or is burnt and this releases a lot of carbon.

Varying levels of carbon are caused by climate changes, burning of bushes and managing of the grazing fields. Re-growth of vegetation in the cleared lands becomes difficult when climate changes and this reduces the forage available for animals to feed on. Carbon from the cleared vegetation is released to the atmosphere and this is a major source of greenhouse gases (Meat and Livestock Australia, p. 38).

To adhere to the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) established by the government, the beef industry will have to come up with fuels with low carbon content and slow down the rate at which vegetation is being cleared. This can be achieved through good leadership and developing good strategies within the industry. Zero grazing can also be applied to reduce grazing activities. Other alternatives are reduction of bush clearing as well as reducing the amount of fossil fuels used in the rand lands.


Understanding the impact of emitting emissions to the environment is very important so that people can know the best control measures to take. Protecting the environment should be a moral responsibility for individuals and corporate organizations. There is great need for companies to manage the wastes released from the production processes. Companies which are able to make appropriate decisions about waste management tend to reduce the costs of obtaining professional advice on how to manage the environment.

People should become concerned about the welfare of other people by developing strategies which are aimed at creating better understanding of the needs of others. The author has explained the role of individuals and corporate companies on adopting moral standards to reduce environmental destruction being experienced today. Examples about ethical issues concerning environmental protection have been provided within the context of the essay.

Works Cited

Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA). Minimizing the beef industry’s impact on Climate Change. Financial review case studies, 2009. Web.

Nelson, Katherine & Linda, Trevino. Managing business ethics: Straight talk about how To do it right. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1999. Print.

Richardson, John. Annual Editions: Business Ethics 10/11. McGraw-Hill/Dushkin, 2010.

Virgin Blue Holdings Limited. Virgin Blue Holdings Limited Annual Report. 2005. Web.

Wagner, Marcus & Stefan, Schaltegger. “The Relationship between The Environmental and Economic Performance of Firms”. Greener Management International, 34 (2001): 95-108.

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