The paper "Social and Business Responsibilities" is an outstanding example of an essay on business. In week 13, Prof. Catherine covered social responsibility, its instruments and the role of business in ensuring socially and environmentally sustainable practices. She introduced the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDG) to be achieved by 2015 for environmental sustainability, hunger, and poverty reduction, promoting gender equality, universal primary education, reducing disease, child mortality and improving maternal health, and global partnership for development. In spite of the commitments by various countries, much more effort is needed to reach the goals.
For instance, there is large portion of the population living in poverty, including the working poor. The latest data from the UN body on MDG shows that one out of five workers in the world lives in extreme poverty, with less than $1 per day income. Prof. Catherine mentioned that forced labor and child labor are still big issues in many countries. Slave footprint websites focus on drawing consumers’ attention and putting pressure on manufacturers/retailers who indulge in such labor practices. The idea is to attack these practices in the entire supply chain for achieving the goal of eradicating bonded/child labor.
Compliance with acceptable labor practices is compulsory, and major retail firms like Wal-Mart insist that their suppliers meet the strict environmental and social standards or risk losing business. In California, the Supply Chain Act of 2010 is signed into law. It stipulates that all retailers and manufacturers doing business in California has to verify their supply chains studiously, (your last name) 2 to evaluate and address risks like forced labor, child labor, and human trafficking. Technology is being used to ensure transparency and effective implementation of the act.
Prof. Catherine talked about adopting a life cycle approach and discussed the initiatives of groups like the Sustainability Consortium and the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, which are based on life cycle assessment for social and environmental goals. BSR and Global Compact also insist upon companies to adopt sustainable life cycle supply chains and help to develop scheme tools and methodologies of LCA. She introduced the concept of product system life cycle, with data collection for products, waste flows, resource consumption and emissions, which is followed by the impact assessment studies for consumption and emissions.
Finally, she concluded that the social LCA looks at the whole life cycle or whole landscape. Involving the stakeholders, social LCA studies the processes, stakeholder positions and product utility for socially and environmentally sustainable economic activities.