Business Study Degrees teach people Stakeholder Theory, Corporate Social Responsibility and Business Ethics. They are three things a professional manager doesnt ignore because they are vital to the success of a business. A large corporation isnt a backstreet micky mouse outfit with shady business practices.
I will pick Shell as an example - http://www.shell.co....onment_society/
As an oil company Shell is a threat to certain stakeholders which are the enviromentalists and communities near their operations. Therefore their CSR is to invest in environmental technologies and supply local communitys with the energy they require for development. They tell you about that on their website and the purpose of these programs are to offset the damage they do.
They dont rape the land and leave the damage for future generations.
Ogoniland is a 404-square-mile (1,050 km2) region in the southeast of the Niger Delta basin. Economically viable petroleum was discovered in Ogoniland in 1957, just one year after the discovery of Nigeria's first commercial petroleum deposit, with Royal Dutch Shell and Chevron Corporation setting up shop throughout the next two decades. The Ogoni people, a minority ethnic group of about half a million people who call Ogoniland home, and other ethnic groups in the region attest that during this time, the government began forcing them to abandon their land to oil companies without consultation, and offering negligible compensation. This is further supported by a 1979 constitutional addition which afforded the federal government full ownership and rights to all Nigerian territory and also decided that all compensation for land would "be based on the value of the crops on the land at the time of its acquisition, not on the value of the land itself." The Nigerian government could now distribute the land to oil companies as it deemed fit.
The 1970s and 1980s saw the government's empty promises of benefits for the Niger Delta peoples fall through, with the Ogoni growing increasing dissatisfied and their environmental, social, and economic apparatus rapidly deteriorating. The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) was formed in 1992. MOSOP, spearheaded by Ogoni playwright and author Ken Saro-Wiwa, became the major campaigning organization representing the Ogoni people in their struggle for ethnic and environmental rights. Its primary targets, and at times adversaries, have been the Nigerian government and Royal Dutch Shell.
Ogoni Flag created by Ken Saro-Wiwa
Beginning in December 1992, the conflict between Ogonis and the oil infrastructure escalated to a level of greater seriousness and intensity on both sides. Both parties began carrying out acts of violence and MOSOP issued an ultimatum to the oil companies (Shell, Chevron, and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation) which demanded some $10 billion in accumulated royalties, damages and compensation, and "immediate stoppage of environmental degradation", and negotiations for mutual agreement on all future drilling.
The Ogonis threatened to embark on mass action to disrupt their operation if the companies failed to comply. By this act, the Ogoni shifted the focus of their actions from an unresponsive federal government to the oil companies engaged in their own region. The rationale for this assignment of responsibility were the benefits accrued by the oil companies from extracting the natural wealth of the Ogoni homeland, and neglect from central government.
The government responded by banning public gatherings and declaring that disturbances of oil production were acts of treason. Oil extraction from the territory had slowed to a trickle of 10,000 barrels per day (1,600 m3/d) (.5% of the national total).
Military repression escalated in May 1994. On May 21, soldiers and mobile policemen appeared in most Ogoni villages. On that day, four Ogoni chiefs (all on the conservative side of a schism within MOSOP over strategy) were brutally murdered. Saro-Wiwa, head of the opposing faction, had been denied entry to Ogoniland on the day of the murders, but he was detained in connection with the killings. The occupying forces, led by Major Paul Okuntimo of Rivers State Internal Security, claimed to be 'searching for those directly responsible for the killings of the four Ogonis.' However, witnesses say that they engaged in terror operations against the general Ogoni population. Amnesty International characterized the policy as deliberate terrorism. By mid-June, the security forces had razed 30 villages, detained 600 people and killed at least 40. This figure eventually rose to 2,000 civilian deaths and the displacement of around 100,000 internal refugees.
In May 1994, nine activists from the movement who would become known as 'The Ogoni Nine', among them Ken Saro-Wiwa, were arrested and accused of incitement to murder following the deaths of four Ogoni elders. Saro-Wiwa and his comrades denied the charges, but were imprisoned for over a year before being found guilty and sentenced to death by a specially convened tribunal, hand-selected by General Sani Abacha, on 10 November 1995. The activists were denied due process and upon being found guilty, were hanged by the Nigerian state.
The executions were met with an immediate international response. The trial was widely criticised by human rights organisations and the governments of other states, who condemned the Nigerian government's long history of detaining their critics, mainly pro-democracy and other political activists. The Commonwealth of Nations, which had also plead for clemency, suspended Nigeria's membership in response. The United States, the United Kingdom, and the EU all implemented sanctions, but not on petroleum (Nigeria's main export).
If that is what you call corporate responsibility then may I suggest that you go and live in the Niga delta and see what it feels like on the ground.
As I pointed out before to you - that all happened on the watch of one of the nicest CEO's that Shell has ever had.
That is just one of the more glaring examples of where corporations have exploited local environments and peoples in pursuit of profits. It still goes on across the globe.
Ultimately it misses the point - which is that almost all corporations which currently operate relies on cheap and finite resource bases to remain competitive, and that is ultimately where their real destructive influence lies.
How about the many transnational mining operations which set up shell companies so that when their operations are finished - they can fold the shell's and walk away from their clean up liabilities - throwing them onto the state.
How about the most glaring and obvious example been the investments banks which have run up trillions of dollars worth of debts, strong armed the national governments into nationalising those debts and then went on to operate as if nothing had happened - leaving the whole world on the knife edge of financial ruin.
You see its standard operating procedure to externalise your losses - in whatever business you operate - and it is only through strong regulation by governments that this unsavoury practice has been somewhat rained in over the last 30yrs.
Maybe you would like to explain why Corporate America has been lobbying the Republican party to gut the EPA and remove most of the environmental legislation if they are so keen on been environmentally responsible. Your arguments just don't stack up to the weight of contrary evidence.
Edited by Br Cornelius, 27 December 2011 - 04:18 PM.