Tweet There is an ongoing debate about the appropriate role of government for solving environmental problems, with many environmentalists calling for increased government intervention and many people more predisposed to individual responsibility calling for less. Without getting into a long discussion on political and economic philosophy for nowhere are a few observations on this important topic:
Literature cited ABSTRACT Major oil spills normally occur from oil pipelines and oil tankers that are under operational control of companies, namely, oil companies and tanker owners. There are two generic responses for changing the behavior of companies with regard to oil spill prevention: Here we investigate to what extent voluntary CSR initiatives can be effective in oil spill prevention.
The study finds that oil spill prevention has generally improved over recent decades. Government regulation played a significant part in these improvements whereas it is less clear to what extent CSR played a significant part in these improvements.
It is not suggested that CSR should be abandoned; however, new hybrid forms of regulation that combine voluntary and mandatory elements are advocated. Here we investigate the potential of voluntary CSR initiatives for preventing oil spills, ask to what extent CSR can be effective and to what extent CSR should supplant or complement mandatory regulation.
The oil and gas sector has been among the leading industries in championing CSR. One explanation is that oil and gas operations pose serious threats to the environment at each stage of the industrial process: Another important explanation is that oil companies are willing to accept higher levels of socio-political risks as they are forced to operate in more challenging environments for geological reasons, with oil and gas deposits often being located near ecologically vulnerable areas and in countries with poor governance PeggChen The growth of CSR is demonstrated, among others, by the remarkable growth of corporate codes of conduct and social and environmental reporting.
CSR has become more sophisticated and complex from the mid s. At the same time, CSR has been criticized from different perspectives. On the one hand, some business writers have traditionally asserted that CSR is misguided in principle.
According to this view, by pursuing social and environmental objectives, firms may ultimately hurt shareholders by generating lower profits, while firms are said to lack the expertise to engage in solving social and environmental problems FriedmanHendersonOttaway On the other hand, various studies have pointed to the limitations and relatively poor results of existing CSR initiatives in terms of delivering social and environmental outcomes, including studies that specifically investigated CSR in the oil and gas sector PeggSoares de OliveiraFrynasGillies It is therefore pertinent to ask whether the emerging system of voluntary self-regulation has led to genuine improvements in the environmental performance of oil companies.
The author does not have a strong ideological preference for either voluntary CSR initiatives or mandatory government regulation, and the starting point of this study is simply pragmatic by asking to what extent voluntary CSR initiatives of companies can replace or complement government regulation as the determinant of responsible environmental practices.
Based on the available evidence, it is concluded that oil spill prevention has generally improved over recent decades.
The responsibilities of companies are often defined differently depending on the social, especially national, context Waldman et al. Therefore, it is most appropriate to define CSR as an umbrella term for a variety of different theories and practices all of which recognize that companies have a responsibility for their impact on society and the natural environment, that companies have a responsibility for the behavior of others with whom they do business, and that CSR activities are normally conducted on a voluntary basis beyond legal compliance Blowfield and Frynas cf.
Matten and Crane The voluntary aspect forms the key distinguishing characteristic between CSR and mandatory regulation in that CSR establishes certain standards and rules of behavior that are followed by companies voluntarily, even though there is no mandatory requirement to do so.
On the other hand, business research suggests that management tools, methods, and practices e.
Therefore, one would expect many companies to voluntarily engage in environmental management and, in turn, to make significant environmental improvements. The benefits of CSR and environmental management have been explored with specific reference to the oil and gas sector.
One study compared seven Canadian oil companies and found that the two companies most proactive on environmental improvements greatly benefited from higher profits and innovations such as technology patents in the areas of process improvement, sulfur dioxide recovery, waste reduction and disposal, soil restoration, and less polluting fuels Sharma and Vredenburg Another study on large multinational oil companies found that there is often a convergence of environmental and business interests, for instance, in terms of reducing carbon dioxide emissions or implementing a zero-spill policy for the company Frynas In sum, existing business research implies that both companies and the natural environment could greatly benefit from voluntary initiatives such as oil spill prevention.
As part of this reporting, most large oil companies publish some environmental indicators on an annual basis. Recommended environmental indicators for voluntary self-reporting by oil companies are contained in the universal Global Reporting Initiative GRI G3 guidelines published in Global Reporting Initiative and the sector-specific Oil and Gas Industry Guidance on voluntary sustainability reporting hereafter: In order to investigate the quality of voluntary environmental self-reporting, this study has analyzed the sustainability reports by 20 leading oil and gas companies.
Sample selection was based on ensuring a wide variance in terms of headquarter location of the organizations in order to reduce a developed country bias.Similarly, government is directly or indirectly responsible for meeting the costs of floods, droughts, epidemics, and other environmental disasters.
Therefore, the government has to apply various checks and controls so that the environment is managed properly. There is an ongoing debate about the appropriate role of government for solving environmental problems, with many environmentalists calling for increased government intervention and many people.
Review opinions on the online debate The Government Should Be More Responsible For Recycling Protection.
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The Role of the U.S. Government in Environmental Protection A Look at the United States Government and Environmental Protection Policy. Share Flipboard Email Print or a cost that the responsible entity can escape but that society as a whole must bear. Environmental protection is practiced for protecting the natural environment on individual, Government protection the Ministry for the Environment is responsible for environmental policy and the Department of Conservation addresses conservation issues.