Essay On Key Ethical Issues In The Case
The most import ethical issue evident in the Fiji Water company case involves its social corporate responsibility towards the environment. Environmentalists and Conservationists groups have argued that there is no need for consumption of bottled water in the market yet tap water is readily available. Fiji Water LLC is a US based company that produces and sells bottled water in dozens of countries all over the world. It has bottling plants in Fiji Islands. The water that is bottled by the company is directly drawn from its source; an old artesian aquifer is containing tropical water filtered for 450 years through layers of volcanic rock. Prior to commencement of any industry activity, the water is of purest and finest quality with a unique taste. The silica-rich water reduces and prevents aging. It is also an immunity booster hence appealing to health conscious customers in the market.
However, the Fiji Water company has been under a lot of criticism due to environmental concerns of carbon emissions. Environmentalists have noted that despite the final product that is the bottled water is of good quality; there is much carbon emitted by the company factory in processing and packaging the water into bottles. A lot of fuel energy is also used in transporting the bottled water through heavy laden trucks over many miles. For instance, the product travels over 10,000 miles to reach the Britain market. This has brought about a lot of environmental concerns about carbon emission. The Mayor of London and the C.E.O of Thames Water Authority even launched a campaign with the slogan “London on tap” as means of discouraging consumption of bottled water by Britons. According to the Environmentalists and Conservationists, using less bottled water would help in eliminating and reducing carbon emissions in the atmosphere as a result of its production, storage, transport and disposal.
This environmental issue has affected the marketing image of the Fiji Water company as most consumers are well aware of the carbon emission concerns. Fiji water had tried to avert this crisis by launching a new promotion campaign termed as “Carbon Negative”. The company introduced a website called “fijigreen” where they showed the level of their calculated carbon emission and the incentives to be taken by the enterprise to reduce the Carbon emission. Among the incentives was that the company would reduce packaging by 20%, supply at least 50% of energy used at its bottling plants with renewable energy and utilizing more carbon efficient transportation modes.
After the launch of the new campaign by Fiji Water, the Environmentalists, Political leaders, Government officials and Conservationists become more vigorous in their campaign against bottled water. They brought up ethical issues about corporate accountability by the Company. They accused Fiji Water Company of “greenwashing” in the sense that they were giving wrong information to the public in order, not to lose the consumer market for their product.
Relevant Stakeholders and Ethical Traditions contributing to Conflict between them
The interested parties in this case would be the Fiji Government, the Shareholders in Fiji Water Company and other International Corporate Watchdog Agencies. Fiji Water Company seems not to be in good relations with the Fiji government. The Fiji Government has accused the company of the transfer of price manipulations that has not in a way benefited the Fiji economy. This led to the seizure of the company’s trucks by the Fiji Government, that traditionally expected the company’s export earnings to increase their foreign reserves. The Fiji government also introduced a draconian hefty tax of 20 cents per litre on the enterprise on the pretext of protecting its scarce natural resources from depletion. This brought about conflict between the two parties as the company instituted a judicial law review lawsuit that set off the harsh tax incentive measure. Fiji Water Company had enjoyed a thirteen-year tax-free concession that came to an end in 2008. The Fiji government went on after 2008 to introduce a “water resource tax” that was much lower at 0.22 cents per litre.
Government agencies have also acted maliciously against the company. They have been out to devastate the bottled water industry by citing environmental and costs concerns. For instance, the Government Food Standards Agency in the U.K banned bottled water from its offices. The Corporate watchdog, Corporate Accountability International mounted a campaign “think outside the bottle” and advocated termination of all state contracts with bottled water suppliers hence promoting and developing water infrastructures all over the world. The perspective of these agencies is that the population should stick to the traditional tap water system that is cheaper and still safe.
The conflict can be resolved by the all the stakeholders working together to eliminate the environmental issues that have been raised in the bottling water industry. The Fiji Government should support the Fiji Water Company, that has offered many employment opportunities to the local people and established a Community Development Trust Fund. Cooperation between the two entities would result in better economic growth for the country.
Bottled water and tap water should be equally provided to the consumer in the market. The bottled water has certain mineral content that is beneficial to human health despite its high cost in the market. As a result, it would be prudent for health conscious to spend more on bottled water despite the availability of tap water in abundance.
The various stakeholders should cooperate in eliminating and reducing carbon emission to a minimum level. Environmental investments should also be made in the Fiji Water Company by all concerned entities. It should not only be left as a duty of the Water Company as a whole, but ideas from all stakeholders including the consumer should be taken into account.
Synopsis of Article
The article is on getting to analyse an environment problem in the corporate world as a business problem and in addition making profit by investing on eliminating the environmental concerns in the market.
Important Features of the Article
The articles show ways in which a company can deliver much profit in environmental investment after management costs are met. It outlines differentiation of products among them. A company should not always use the conventional thinking of environmental problems as a matter of social responsibility. An environmental problem can be seen and evaluated as a business problem. Companies should strive to implement processes that offer tremendous environmental benefits. This would lead to the production of a product that is environmentally friendly hence minimizing on raw material demand.
A key aspect of the article is that it brings out the idea that companies should make allies with Environment groups and Government Regulatory Agencies. This would enable them to be at a competitive advantage in the market.
Saving costs is also cited by the article as very fundamental in environmental investment. A business entity should always seek to cut costs and enhance great environmental performance simultaneously.
My Reflections on the Article
It provides insight to an environmental problem as a business problem. It has enlightened my way of business thinking and analysis to be more creative on the concept of environmental investment. Most businesses view environment problems as extra costs leading to losses but the article changes this perception. I am now well informed that business interests are not the only factors that take precedence in evaluation of an environmental problem.