Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Let The Tribe of Unethical Businesses Increase!

Ethics must be at the core of every good business. Sadly for the consumers, there aren't many good businesses around. Given the choice between profit and ethics, profit mostly wins out for most businesses.

You only have to look into the record of global businesses, including most of the major brands that the public use, to give you an idea of of how these businesses regard good business ethics as pure garbage. Take a count of the number of major brands that have been fined millions for breaking ethical business laws. You would be surprise of how staggering the number is. Money and not ethics is what rules.

Companies that do not stick by the principles of business ethics and breaks the laws, usually end up being fined. Breaking the anti-trust , ethical and environmental laws is so rampant and while millions of fines are often imposed on companies that break these laws the practice continues. But really, why should these companies worry about fines when fines are just minuscule compared to the profits they make? Why should they care about business ethics when such would just be on their way from amassing billion dollar profits? They should because often the lack of business ethics can place people's lives on the line. But then they would not care because most often the people they harm are invisible or are unaware.

Let us take the case of the thousands of old electronic goods and components that leave the EU for Africa and other destinations in the developing world every day, despite regulations prohibiting the trade in e-waste. Illicit profits to be made by the developed world's traders by dumping their obsolete and hazardous electronics abroad instead of properly recycling them makes them blind to such regulations. Some will be repaired and reused, but many are beyond repair, meaning that they will eventually be dumped in places where no facilities exist for safe recycling.

The poorest people, in many cases children, are put to work breaking apart TVs, mobile phones, game consoles and other electronic items that arrive in their tonnes. With no safety measures, they are exposed to highly toxic chemicals, including mercury, which damages the brain; lead, which can damage reproductive systems; and cadmium, which causes kidney damage.

But then, they are just poor children in never heard of part of the world. Who cares? Let us go let these unethical businesses live or wait until the time they knock on our own doors before we cry foul. That is if they have not already sneaked into our back doors and have made themselves at home.