Ethical Capitalism: Oxymoron?

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baywax
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Main Question or Discussion Point

To me it seems perfectly logical that Capitalism would evolve into a form of ethical interaction between traders, sellers, buyers and the environment. This is because, logically again, Capitalism tends to be supported by the consumer and, furthermore, the consumer's lifeline is the environment. It would appear to be the best course for Capitalism to not only preserve the environment in which its consumer lives in order to ensure the healthy future spending and functioning of capitalism's consumer base but to also preserve relationships with trading partners. In this sense, do we see the capitalist system developing in that direction?

There are Canadian examples of this sort of development but other, international examples of Ethical Capitalism would be helpful in this thread.
 

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  • #2
baywax
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Here's an example of a company that provides Social, economic, cultural, environmental services to corporations like mining, hydro and other industrial developments and projects. I'm listing their services... they are Canadian and abide by regulations set by the Canadian government... as well as going beyond those regulations.

These are just the Social and Economic Sciences utilized in planning a client project.

Baseline studies use a range of methods to establish a starting point for projects. They provide valuable social and economic information which is critical to project decision-making and predict impacts.


Social and Cultural Elements

Population and demographics
Social diversity
Socio-cultural resources
Community profiling (health, housing, education, social issues, justice, etc.)
Cultural heritage and archaeology
Social services and infrastructure
Cultural property identification
Social capital and community capacity analysis
Land tenure, use and management
Institutions and governance
Cross-cultural mapping

Economic Elements

Development history
Micro/Macro economic analysis (local, regional, national)
Employment
Development indicators and local capacity
Physical infrastructure
Stakeholder analysis
Policy and regulatory systems
Community Economic Development issues


A Social and Economic Impact Assessment (SEIA) assesses the potential short, medium and longer term consequences of a planned development on people, communities and economies, and develops strategies for the ongoing monitoring and management of those impacts. Aspects of SEIAs can include:

Identification of interested and affected people and communities
Coordination and engagement of key stakeholders
Identification and forecasting of benefits and costs
Social risk analysis
Analysis of induced development
Displacement and resettlement planning
Alternatives and sensitivity analyses
Community capacity building
Mitigation recommendations and planning
Development of social management and monitoring plans
Identification of sustainable development opportunities

Community engagement involves a broad range of tools and techniques to facilitate understanding, share information, and engage all stakeholders.



Services include:

Dialogue and consultation with potentially affected groups
Community relations programme and planning
Creation of culturally relevant outreach and education materials
Identification and development of capacity building programmes and public participation programmes
Facilitation and animation, particular to marginalized, excluded, and vulnerable groups and peoples
Partnership building and facilitation
Cross-cultural communication processes and sensitivity training

The identification and analysis of traditional and indigenous knowledge is a valuable tool that can improve our understanding of environmental impacts, assist decision-making on projects and increase the benefits associated with the development.

Services include:

Identification and integration of traditional and indigenous knowledge into the project development and implementation at an equitable level to science
Cultural property identification and interpretation, including archaeology and traditional land use
Community values identification and strengthening within indigenous communities
Culturally sensitive consultation and partnership building
Development and implementation of capacity building programmes throughout the process
Incorporation of cross cultural sensitivity into all elements of the project

Effective planning and policy development are essential to the long-term success of a potential project and to ensure realistic and results-oriented development and environmental and social sustainability.

Rescan can provide:

Social and economic management plans
Sustainability planning
Re-development/ re-settlement plans
Project/Component Mitigation plans
Community economic development and planning
Policy analysis and implementation
Archaeology and cultural heritage management plans
Public consultation and disclosure action plans

Monitoring and evaluation activities are key to improving effectiveness, enhancing sustainability and achieving realistic results for a project.

Types of services include:

Identification of monitoring and evaluation indicators and measures
Development of monitoring and evaluaqtion tools
Monitoring plans
Evaluation frameworks
Development of logic models
Monitoring and evaluation reporting and project recommendations
The next list you see will be the environmental sciences that go into assessing impact on an environment when an aluminum or gold or uranium or other mine or facility is planned to be built in a specific area of our country or a country somewhere in the world.

http://www.rescan.com/
 
  • #3
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No, I don't believe consumers really care about the environment. People recycle because it's convenient enough but most sacrifices such as driving a hybrid or carrying around re-usable grocery bags are foregone for the benefits of convenience and comfort. This will have to get really bad and many habitats will have already been destroyed before consumers take environmental concerns into account while consuming. Government intervention is definately required.
 
  • #4
baywax
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No, I don't believe consumers really care about the environment. People recycle because it's convenient enough but most sacrifices such as driving a hybrid or carrying around re-usable grocery bags are foregone for the benefits of convenience and comfort. This will have to get really bad and many habitats will have already been destroyed before consumers take environmental concerns into account while consuming. Government intervention is definately required.
You have a point there Landru. Its interesting because lately its been the corporations pushing how "green" they are becoming. With this type of hype going on, the consumer is being educated by the corporation rather than the consumer "voting with their dollar" and forcing the issue upon the corporations. However, what got the "green" campaign going in the first place? It was probably Al Gore's Global Warming film and other interests such as this.

So, are the corporations following a lead they think is going on with consumers? Or are they trying to appease the GW groups who speak to the consumer? Is it a misconception among corporations that their consumers care? Or are the corporations aware of the bigger problem threatening their consumer base with health issues because of pollution etc... and trying to slow that disintegration to ensure future profits?

(Of course, the pharmaceutical companies and health industries are reaping quite a profit from the deteriorating environment and the ensuing health complications, but overall I think big corporations are realizing the mistake in ruining the very foundation of their profit machine)
 
  • #5
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Consumers do care just not enough to exert any effort, so if there are two otherwise interchangeble tooth pastes like Crest and Colgate and one says Co-op approved people will grab the "green" one because hey why not? But you know as well as I do that if they prefer the flavor of Colgate they'll still get the Colgate anyway because that would be tragic to have to suffer the flavor of Crest. Going green is an effective marketing tactic when the options are otherwise indistinguishable.
 
  • #6
baywax
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Consumers do care just not enough to exert any effort, so if there are two otherwise interchangeble tooth pastes like Crest and Colgate and one says Co-op approved people will grab the "green" one because hey why not? But you know as well as I do that if they prefer the flavor of Colgate they'll still get the Colgate anyway because that would be tragic to have to suffer the flavor of Crest. Going green is an effective marketing tactic when the options are otherwise indistinguishable.
Once one or more of these consumers who are deciding between toothpastes realizes the dangers of ingesting sodium fluoride (ie: aluminium mine tailings) they tend to go the truly green route and use the alternative toothpastes like Jason's or Nature's Gate.

This illustrates the importance and influence of education on the choice consumers make. The people who make decisions based on how something tastes could just as easily be drinking sweet anti-freeze out of ignorance of its effects on their body and mind.
 
  • #7
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That's getting off topic but I think a lot of people trust toothpaste because it's on the shelf and they don't believe that a harmful product would ever be placed on the shelf to begin with. Plus a lot of people have used them for a long time and haven't reported problems so whatever risk there is must be minimal. They would be skeptical to the claim that Colgate is akin to anti freeze. It may or may not be true but that's the logic people use when they make snap buying decisions.
 
  • #8
baywax
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That's getting off topic but I think a lot of people trust toothpaste because it's on the shelf and they don't believe that a harmful product would ever be placed on the shelf to begin with. Plus a lot of people have used them for a long time and haven't reported problems so whatever risk there is must be minimal. They would be skeptical to the claim that Colgate is akin to anti freeze. It may or may not be true but that's the logic people use when they make snap buying decisions.


News items, consumer guides and corporate notices help to educate the consumer's choices.
Here's an example that I'm pretty sure Nestles or Arrow
Bottlewater Divisions didn't want to see in the news.



Tests on leading brands of bottled water turned up a variety of contaminants, including cancer-linked chemicals three times higher than California's health standard, according to a study released Wednesday by an environmental advocacy group.

Lab tests detected 38 chemicals in 10 brands, with an average of eight contaminants found in each kind of bottled water. Tests showed coliform bacteria, caffeine, the pain reliever acetaminophen, fertilizer, solvents, plastic-making chemicals and the radioactive element strontium.

The two-year study was done by the Washington-based Environmental Working Group, an organization founded by scientists that advocates stricter regulation. It bought bottled water in California, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and Delaware.
Canadian Press

http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/capress/081015/health/health_impure_bottled_water [Broken]

Regulation seems to be a bad word for some countries but you can see by today's market and by the rampant loss of wildlife habitat (excluding Las Vegas) that regulation has a chance of being the consumer's best friend and a corporation's guideline to future profits.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #9
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News items, consumer guides and corporate notices help to educate the consumer's choices.
Here's an example that I'm pretty sure Nestles or Arrow
Bottlewater Divisions didn't want to see in the news.

Canadian Press

http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/capress/081015/health/health_impure_bottled_water [Broken]

Regulation seems to be a bad word for some countries but you can see by today's market and by the rampant loss of wildlife habitat (excluding Las Vegas) that regulation has a chance of being the consumer's best friend and a corporation's guideline to future profits.

Hardly anyone goes out of their way to find that information. They trust that things on shelves are safe enough. They might perceive those health concerns to be paranoid. Plus what their behavior is shared by many others so should something bad come of it they will have lots of company.
 
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  • #10
baywax
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Hardly anyone goes out of their way to find that information. They trust that things on shelves are safe enough. They might perceive those health concerns to be paranoid. Plus what their behavior is shared by many others so should something bad come of it they will have lots of company.
Yeah, but the next ad campaign for bottled water will be "our bottles and water contain no BPA or lead or strontium let alone any boric acid or prozac." And the consumer will rest easy until they ask... when did they contain those elements?
 

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