Ethical dilemma of environmental debate essay sample


Environmental debate has become quite a common debate in the modern industrialized world. This is because as people seek more and more comfort, they tend to forsake the environmental concerns for their selfish interests. Through the environmental conservation efforts and the calls for effective utilization of the environment, most companies are put in a dilemma as to what to do about the environmental issues. Such a case is discussed below.

Ethical Dilemma

According to Parks Printing (2008), the current desire for convenient products can put a producing company at an ethical dilemma as whether to satisfy the customers’ demands or to conserve the environment. For instance, there is the case of a company that produces polythene based products. From science, we understand that the polythene materials are non-biodegradable. As such, producing convenient plastic goods can be a disadvantage to the environment in the manner explained below.

If the products are produced in large amounts, it means that a lot of non-biodegradable materials would be deposited into the environment. Through this, the landfills in the area would soon be filled up and ugly environmentally unfriendly sites would become a common phenomenon. Once the landfills are filled, then there are two options: to create more landfills or to burn the matter already accumulated in the current landfills. Both have a disadvantage. If the waste is burnt, then more carbon would be released into the atmosphere, causing more environmental problems. If more land fills are created, then more land would go to waste and the landfills dotting the environment would ruin the natural beauty. The only option to avoid this problem is to reduce the release of these waste materials into the environment. That is, the producing companies should stop producing the convenient goods that are wrapped in the plastic containers. Given that the companies are oriented towards making profits, then the situation becomes quite tricky: should the company fail to produce the products, hence reduce its profit margins and conserve the environment, or should they disregard the environmental issues and pursue their profits?

The company can use the Kant’s ethics to solve this problem. This is where the company will consider their duty to the environment. According to Kant (Lander, 2011), the goodwill of an individual is based on the moral of duty. Therefore, the company can feel that it has the duty to conserve the environment for the good of its survival. That is, by looking at the bigger picture, conserving the environment not only benefits the community, but it also protects the future of the company. With such a moral grounding, therefore, the company would be more propelled towards the environmental conservation.

On another perspective, the company can conduct a PESTEL assessment of its activities. Under this strategy, the company will consider the environmental effects of its activities. It will therefore realize that these activities will lead to environmental degradation. Considering the code of ethics, the company will therefore opt for the conservation of the environment, since it is both ethical and morally sound to do so. At this point, the long term vision of sustained business prevails over the immediate benefit of short term profits.

In conclusion, this essay has looked at an environmental dilemma and how it can be resolved. It has done this by hypothesizing a production company that produces convenient products which are made of plastics, hence non-biodegradable. Using the Kant’s ethical theory and the PESTEL analysis, it has been established that the only way out of the dilemma is to conserve the environment.


Landers. (2011). Kantian Ethics. Retrieved on 31st Jan 2012 from http://philosophy. lander. edu/ethics/kant. html
Parks Printing. (2008). Environmental Dilemma. Retrieved on 31st Jan 2012 from http://greenprinters. blogspot. com/2008/02/environmental-dilemma. html