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ENVS 2300 Final: Chapter 6 Summary - Environment and Politics

Environmental Studies
Course Code
ENVS 2300
Nick Garside
Study Guide

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Chapter Six
“Business politics and the environment” – Transnational Corporations
This chapter emphasizes the role of transnational corporations during the rise of
environmental concern around the globe. Corporations typically have one thing in mind,
which is profit. Profit is generated by the production (labour) and selling of goods and
services. Oftentimes we discuss environmental concern as a matter in which there is a
limited amount of time to resolve an issue, and this chapter organizes different theoretical
approaches/attitudes of business that transnational corporations typically have towards
the environment.
Summary of the three attitudes of business towards environmental concern:
Rejecting environmental concerns
People typically reject the idea of a concern for the environment at all and claim
that these concerns are more theoretical and invented.
When activists attack transnational corporations, the companies often reject the
concern and direct the focus onto the positive outcomes of the event. An example
would be when Shell was operating in Nigeria and managed to steer the focus on
the fact that they were improving the Nigerian economy, despite creating heavy
pollution in the region.
Theme of utility: gain the ultimate satisfaction/greatness for all. The idea of utility
ultimately takes priority over environmental concerns. If we can get something
out of mining and polluting the environment, we tend to classify it as a justified
reason to continue.
Accommodating environmental concerns
Factoring in the environmental aspects of conducting business. Considering the
environment when producing goods/services that are eventually turned into profit.
Using a method that supports sustainable development. Companies take more of a
pragmatic approach when dealing with environmental concerns around business
This approach does not suggest that companies completely alter their original
business plans, but rather only consider the environment.
Environmental Business
Completely redesign or at least dramatically change the way they produce and
conduct business.
Includes the rise of “green” business development by using less toxic paper,
energy saving, altering fuel consumption, etc.
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