M7 (Duffield)


This article explains the climate risks and the costs they bring to companies which has given them no choice but to make a change. Although for a long time, companies have increased their profits from treating the environment as a free good by lowering costs for consumers. The damage that has been caused to the environment is now costing them more than the profit they are making off it with natural disasters costing up to $160 billion (Kottasova, 2019). These costs are causing some companies to file for bankruptcy which is a warning to other companies to change their habits. They are pushing for things such as sustainability and becoming carbon neutral to avoid furthering the damages. Shaw mentions the questions that these companies are facing which are what responsibility they have to their consumers and how can their goods be promoted while respecting the choices of individuals (Shaw, 2017).


What obligations do we have to future generations?

Although it is difficult to base our current decisions on future generations that we are unsure of what their interests will be, we should aim to give them the same opportunities to live well as we do. As Joel Feinberg mentions, we can make an accurate guess as to what the general nature of future generations interests will be (Shaw, 2017). On one hand, it is fair to make the judgement that they would not exist without the decisions we make today, so they do not deserve a say. However, previous generations laid the foundation for us and set us up in a position to live well, so it is just as much our duty to not leave them with a completely damaged environment. Though we have a right to work hard to create things that benefit us, just not at the expense of future generations. We should not leave them with problems that we have the power to at least try to fix. Instead, we should give them the opportunity to build on the successes that we have created. Ultimately, neither generation should have to suffer, but it is unfair to leave a mess we made for our own benefit to future generations to deal with. Our obligation to future generations is to keep moving forward toward efficiency, recycling, inventing, etc. and to not purposefully seek our own benefit at their expense.


Does nature have value in itself?

William Baxter and the human-centered believe that nature does cannot have interests or beliefs and desires therefore they do not have rights or value (Shaw, 2017). However, Holmes Rolston III takes on the naturalistic ethic in which humans have a duty to respect landscapes. The value of nature is more than simple human interests, so nature can have value in and of itself, apart from human beings. The naturalistic ethic contends that we have a strong obligation to preserve species from extinction. Nature cannot defend itself in which we have the duty to preserve and protect it. There is no agreement whether nature has value that is relevant to that of humans and what the moral obligation is.


Who should pay the cost for protecting the environment — those responsible for causing the pollution or those who stand to benefit from protection and restoration. Explain your position.

I agree with the text in that it is important that we recognize that all of us contribute to the problem in some way and would benefit from making improvements (Shaw, 2017). Those responsible, both consumers and business, must pay some cost in protecting the environment with the incentive that we can all benefit in some way. Both business and consumers have benefited from treating the environment as a free good by consumers having to pay lower costs and businesses’ increase their profits. Consumers are the ones who create the demand for goods which then causes businesses to provide those goods at the expense of the environment. We all should have a fair share of paying the cost for protecting the environment with businesses paying more because they have the power and are in the position of being able to make the biggest difference. Consumers must take the responsibility of being more conscious of their habits while businesses pay the extra costs to make good environmentally friendly. Consumers have to be willing to pay more for goods with the knowledge that in return businesses are spending more as well to protect the environment. With the rising affluence, consumers should be more conscious of discarding old products that contribute to endangering the environment just to buy a good that is in new condition. Shaw mentions, “Many other companies are finding that going green not only is environmentally responsible, but also improves efficiency and saves them money, thus benefiting the bottom line.’ Ultimately, those who are responsible and those who benefit must work together to pay costs now to contribute to something that will benefit us all in the future.

Shaw, William H. Business Ethics. 9th ed, Cengage Learning, 2017

Kottasova, Ivana C. (2019). Climate is the biggest risk to business (and the world). CNN. Retrieved from https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/16/business/climate-change-global-risk-wef-davos/index.html

1 Comment for “M7 (Duffield)”



You make a great point when answering the question of who should pay the cost for protecting the environment. Polluters would not pollute if there were not a motivation to do so (we demand it, so they produce it). Because of that, we do have a responsibility to help shoulder the cost of protection. I agree that those costs are likely already folded into price of what we are buying (if the polluter is fined, that expense rolls into the final cost).