The paper "Business Ethics, Globalisation and Sustainability - Framing Key Ethical Issues" is a perfect example of business coursework. This essay provides an analysis of an ethical situation in which a representative of a company has to make a moral decision on whether or not the company represented should enter into a supply contract with a supplier who uses child labour in the process of producing the raw materials. The essay is divided into three distinct sections as follows. In part one, a general outline of the ethical issues that arise from the situation is presented.
This is followed by a detailed analysis of the morality of either course of action that can be taken in the second section. This is done using both utilitarian and Kantian ethical philosophies. In the third part, the question of whether the company should enter into the contract or not is answered. Reasons for making the decision are provided. Part One: Framing Key Ethical Issues There are several key ethical issues that arise from the situation in the plantations. These issues, which arise from the conflicting interests when business organisations deal with suppliers as key stakeholders of the business, are important in understanding how all other different stakeholders of an organisation are affected.
These effects are felt down the supply chain of an organisation. Essentially, the ethical issues that arise from the situation presented are as a result of the company looking for cheap sources of raw materials. On the other hand, the suppliers, being keen on maximising profits, seek to supply the raw materials required at the lowest cost possible. Although this trend may be necessitated by the need to achieve triple bottom line success, it raises a number of ethical issues based on different environmental and labour conditions.
From the observation of what was occurring in the farms, two issues can be pointed out as raising the greatest ethical concern. These are outlined as follows. The first issue regards the labour conditions that workers are subjected to. In the case, this is evident in several ways. For instance, it can be seen that labour is provided by orphaned children who are of school-going age. It can also be seen that the children, apart from being forced to work in plantations in the first place, are subjected to poor working conditions in that they work without proper remuneration and are exposed to difficult conditions when working.
This means that they neither have an occupational status nor job security when working in the plantations. Although the explanation given is that the children would be in worse conditions if they were not working at the plantation, the whole issue raises the ethical question of whether, considering the local circumstances of the children, this constitutes child labour and whether it is acceptable. The second issue that arises from the situation presented regards issues to do with health and safety concerns.
This can be seen in several instances as described in the case. To begin with, the cocoa beans are processed under non-hygienic conditions, when evaluated by international standards. Also, workers at the plantations, who are children, lack the right equipment to do the work. As a result of this, they are exposed to the dangers of harm and injury while working. To the company, although the costs of acquiring the raw materials are relatively low, the ethical issue that arises here is whether to compromise health and safety concerns for easily acquired raw materials.
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