Discuss some of the Important Social, Ethical and Environmental Issues in International Business.
Some important social, ethical and environmental issues in international business are:
There have been reports of adulteration to the extent that may cause serious health problems. Black-pepper is mixed with papaya seeds, sawdust is colored and sold as red chilli powder, small pebbles are mixes with rice and pulses, wood pieces are colored and sold as turmeric, and so on.
Some businessmen have gone to the extent of selling spurious products. Even life-saving medicines have not been spared. Sometimes plain water is found in life-saving injections. Glucose bottles either contain very little glucose or it is contaminated. Drugs rendered time-barred are sold by changing their labels.
Not only are duplicates found to be sold as imported items but popular brands of Indian products are also duplicated. Detergents, soft-drinks, ketchup, jams, squashes, oils and a host of other items are duplicated and sold under popular brand names.
This is not a problem peculiar to India. Probably it is more widely practiced in the developed countries. Products which have been proved to be health hazards are manufactured and sold purely for commercial gains. Charas, marijuana, L.S.D., etc., are some of the examples.
There has been all-round protest for using ladies as models for anything and everything whether they use that product or not. Besides, highly pampered statements are used about the products. Consumers are tempted to buy on the basis of false advertisements. Many creams, which might actually spoil one’s beauty, are propagated as beauty creams. Drinks, that may hardly contribute to one’s health, are marketed as health drinks.
Excepting certain organizations, particularly in the corporate sector, salaries being paid to the employees tend to be very low. They are barely sufficient to make one’s both ends meet. Labour being in abundance, workers tend to accept low wages.
Poor working conditions:
There is hardly any attention paid to the work environment. Again certain exceptions, particularly in the corporate sector, do exist. Working conditions tend to be unhygienic inadequate ventilation, poor lighting, no welfare facilities. Besides, safety of the workers is also not cared for.
Bonded labor is still not uncommon, workers being not allowed to move from their work place. Moreover, they are hardly given two-square meals and made to work the whole day. In spite of government’s resolve to eradicate this evil, it still exists. Besides, employees even educated ones are, made to sign receipts for salaries more than what are actually paid to them.
In developing countries, child labor is prevalent. Child labor is used in the manufacture of products exported from the developing countries. Social activists in the developed countries have protested against this and demanded ban on the imports of goods employing child labor. Consumers are called upon to boycott such goods.
One of the basic reasons of tax evasion is said to be the high rate of taxation. Income tax, for instance, is highest in India. However, it is doubtful, if lower rates of taxation will make the business community more sincere in paying their taxes, though initial response may be encouraging. Black money has in fact generated a parallel economy. Government has been endeavoring to channelize this black money into productive uses.
Pollution continues to be one of the major unethical practices being followed by Indian business. In spite of a separate Ministry of Environment, air, water and noise pollution continue unabated. However, some check has been reported on big industrial units. New projects have to seek clearance from the Ministry of Environment before they can be launched. However, better controls may be expected in future.
Corrupt practices, including bribe have become the style of today’s business operation. Even political support is exploited to get anything cleared that may otherwise be objectionable. Poor quality construction is cleared by the officials for a quid pro quo (i.e., reward). In fact, in certain cases there is a set percentage to be paid to the officials.