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“Green” company or “green” consumers: a Kantian retrospective

By Fulong-Daniel Feng

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this short paper is to re-examine corporate social responsibility (CSR) in terms of the ethical criterion of “greenness” through an assessment of one company's response to green consumers during the past number of years. Design/methodology/approach – The ethical evaluation proceeds along the lines of a case study analysis of the significance of “green” as a value and the likely implications for a company. Findings – There is a need for all companies to shift to Kantian responsibility with the appointment of a chief ethical officer and creation of an ethics department in an attempt to balance the short-term profit-oriented pursuit and the long-term pursuit of fulfilling one's duty. Research limitations/implications – The paper addresses the ethical issue of “greenness” from a Kantian perspective of fulfilling one's duty. Practical implications – Public companies should adopt full transparency on CSR so that the public can be assured that the company is ethical and acting in an ethical manner. Originality/value – The paper provides a brief application of a Kantian time-variant responsibility in terms of fulfilment of one's duty now to be a green company. It asks: how can a company best achieve “greenness” as a time-invariant ethical standard?Corporate social responsibility, Ethics

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