0Purpose and Perspective
In this chapter, we explore the concept of the natural environment in the context of strategic
social responsibility in today’s complex business environment. First, we define the natural
environment and explore some of the significant environmental issues that businesses and society
face. These issues include air pollution, global warming, water pollution and water quantity, land
pollution, waste management, deforestation, urban sprawl, biodiversity, and genetically modified
foods. Next, we consider the impact of government environmental policy and regulation on
business and examine how some companies are going beyond these laws to address
environmental issues and act in an environmentally responsible manner. Finally, we highlight a
strategic approach to environmental issues, including risk management and strategic audits.
Global Environmental Issues0
We define the
as the physical world, including all biological
entities, as well as the interaction among nature and individuals, organizations, and
Air pollution is defined as discharged gases and particulates that can be carried
long distances by surface winds, or can linger on the surface for days if
geographic conditions permit.
Acid rain has contributed to the deaths of forests and causes damage to
automobiles and buildings.
During the twentieth century, the burning of fossil fuels accelerated dramatically,
increasing the concentration of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and
methane in the atmosphere, warming the planet. This is commonly referred to as
Chlorofluorocarbons—from refrigerants, coolants, and aerosol cans—also
harm the earth’s ozone layer, which filters out the sun’s harmful ultraviolet
The theory of global warming has been rather controversial, and some
scientists continue to dispute its existence.
is a controversial treaty proposed among industrialized
nations to slow global warming.
Water pollution results from the dumping of raw sewage and toxic chemicals into
rivers and oceans, from oil and gasoline spills, and from the burial of industrial
wastes in the ground where they may filter into underground water supplies.