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“Proactive Corporate Environmental Strategies” by Aragon-Correa

Introduction

This report gives a Critical review of the journal article “Proactive corporate environmental strategies: Myths and misunderstandings by Juan Alberto Aragon-Correa and Enrique A. Rubio Lopez. Due to increased global environmental challenges and other concerns, scholars, consultants, researchers, firms, world governments and all the stake holders who are conscious of the notable environmental changes and phenomena are taking exceptional, legal, corporate, voluntary, academic responsibility towards controlling the world monster of global warming and other critical challenges. This responsibility goes beyond race, religion, continental boundaries, interests and other forms of affiliations therefore demanding urgent measures to ensure that the present rate of environmental damage is stopped besides taking precautionary measures in life’s ventures since life must go on. The report also considers in-depth and sound possible environmental management solutions.

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Executive summary

This article proposes proactive environmental strategies as urgent and profitable in dealing with the natural environment due to social reputation, customer preferences and generation of organizational capabilities. Stakeholders are finding these approaches perpetuating or increasing environmental problems with minimal payoffs. It focuses on the food industry using secondary data of companies in the U.S, France and U.K and their involvement due to legal pressure, avoiding criticism, negative branding, participating in the area, reducing costs and improving financial performance. It makes general points on the relationships between business and the urgency of developing eco-sustainable measurements and strategies of systematic voluntary practice in waste and pollution control.

It highlights six common myths: concerns of stakeholders, high growth rate of environmental industries, environmental standards management certification, coefficient activities as cost advantage, control and performance outcomes/recycling, proactive environmental strategies to improve company finances. It describes good environmental management practices, implications and prescriptions.

Discussion

From a general point of view, an environment is the surrounding of an animal plant or an object. The environment is very critical to the existence of life on earth and any attempts to tamper with it are attempting putting a halt to life. Due to increased global environmental challenges and other serious global concerns, a lot of effort has been put by scholars, consultants, researchers, firms, governments and all the stakeholders towards controlling the world’s greatest threat to life, global warming and other critical challenges notably environmental changes and phenomena including environmental pollution, degradation, increased calamities, catastrophes and diseases arising from the effects of man’s activities on the environment. (Beysse and Verbeke A, 2002,)

Stakeholders the world over are speaking the same language when it comes to environmental challenges since a change in one area gradually spreads to the rest of the world. The stakeholders are taking exceptional, legal, corporate, voluntary, academic/scientific responsibility. This responsibility goes beyond race, religion, continental boundaries, interests and other forms of affiliations therefore demanding urgent measures to ensure that the present rate of environmental damage is stopped besides taking precautionary measures in life’s ventures since life must go on. The report also considers in-depth and sound possible environmental management solutions. This article is an exceptional documentation of some of the challenges, solutions and possible strategies in solving these environmental challenges. The different environmental concepts and ideas discussed in the article are critical.

Proactive environmental strategies have been discussed and proposed as urgent, profitable ways of controlling environmental degradation, pollution and abuse. The proactive environmental strategies have been considered as a systematic voluntary approaches and practices that regulate waste and pollution of the environment. This approach is based on levels, exceeding legal requirements for environmental excellence or leadership.

The proactive environmental strategies are based on myths which have been disputed due to the perceived perpetuation of depletion and degradation of the environment besides its ineffectiveness in terms of profitability to the firms concerned. These six common myths include: Concerns of corporate stakeholders and their sensitivity to firms’ environmental progress reports, high growth rate of environmental industries and investments, environmental management standards certification and its reliability basis, ecoefficient activities as a cost advantage measure, control and performance outcomes and waste recycling, proactive environmental strategies to improve company financial revenues and overall performance. It describes good environmental management practices, implications and prescriptions

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The reasons of involvement of these firms in environmental degradation control are said to be the legislation by local authorities and governments, fear of public criticisms of these firms, negative sector branding, corporate environmental responsibility in the emerging areas, cost reduction and possible fiscal improvement. The credibility of this approach has been questioned by several corporate entities responsible for its practice as being invalid and without practical results on these firms which continue to seek other valuable environmental proactive measures.

The article also uses particular methods of data collection and analysis, for example, induction has been used to identify the problem then provide the evidence for it.

Secondary data collection methods have been used and the sources considered include existing research reports, literature review and comparative analysis of the existing data. The problem choice was based on academics and practitioners. However, the article has clearly indicated the reason for choosing the food industry as having a wider relationship with the natural environment and its importance in terms of contribution to the gross domestic product of the countries The article elaborates on the good environmental management practices,

The article discusses the results of the six problems. It also provides a basis for further studies on corporate environmental management. The myths that the report analyses are discussed below. General and business analysis: concerns of corporate stakeholders and their sensitivity to firms’ environmental progress reports: The food industry has had and still has a wide publicity on issues related to it in different perspectives. Of most concern is the environmental concern which has been elaborated by the report, for example mad cow disease, genetically modified foods, pesticide abuse, avian influenza, bird flu and many other diseases. In this regard there is need for responsible behavior in the corporate sector. It proposes that the firms consider the responses of survey correspondents, level of individual interest in environmental issues and development of corporate statements which should be precise, clear and show firm’s responsibility in environmental issues. The firm also should avail information on its activities’ environmental effects.

The report also discusses the high growth rate of environmental industries and investments The major concerns here are the impact of the firms’ activities on the environment and it addresses whether they are protecting the atmosphere/air and the climate, waste and waste management, soil and surface water protection, noise reduction and radiation control, organic, green foods monitoring and production of environmentally friendly products. It looks at the selection and implementation process: environmental management standards certification and its reliability basis concept, this is advocated to make firms more responsible about the environment. It also discusses the certification schemes like ISO 14001 and EMAS to guide the implementation of the environmental management systems.

The article also discusses the fish production companies and their roles in implantation of these regulations. These firms include Del Monte. However the certification only requires superficial measure like proposal presentation rather than the environmental output/results. The issue of transparency in obtaining the certificate has also been raised. Corporate entities are working on a win-win situation in the implementation of the proactive environmental strategies to ensure that they are ecoefficient activities as a cost advantage measure. These firms also consider the control and performance outcomes/ and waste recycling, however threats of more waste from recycling has been raised. Besides the recycling process is environmentally unfriendly and thirdly production is controlled by the market demand of the product hence recycling may as well lead to further pollution of the environment. Proactive environmental strategies to improve company financial revenues and overall performance. This is one consideration which has been realized to be true. This is explained by the generation of the organizational capabilities through environmental practice. It describes good environmental management practice, implications and prescription. This report takes into consideration the legal, social and commercial dimensions in the implementation of the proactive environmental approach in the business environment.

Gaps

This work is commendable because of the role it plays in enlightening people and creating environmental awareness. The concerns raised herein are very crucial to the existence of life on earth. Some of the issues discussed will provide the basis for further research and action. Even though this article merits sizeable credit, it has omitted very vital facts and ideas which are necessary for any report. These omitted facts include the following: The research was based only on one industry and expected to apply in all the other sectors of the economy. I do agree that food industry is very important but for scientific documentation which applies to all other industries, it should have been widely conducted to exploit other possible factors within the valid economic indicators which have a huge impact on the environment like the garment production industries, manufacturing industries and many other sector of the economy. (Monica Cavalcanti, 2007),

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Secondly, the report has used secondary data in conducting a very important research on a very dynamic sector of the economy. This type of data collection method had serious assumptions of the change of factors of production and the level of environmental degradation as constant. The research should have used a primary data collection technique to get the current trends of production and level of destruction being done on the environment. This argument is based on the fact that different other sources of food have been advocated and that scales of environmental pollution have changed over time.

Thirdly, the arguments have been based on generalizations without valid research to verify the problem for better solution finding. Problems of this magnitude can only be solved through valid processes of research and verified to be the true picture of what’s happening before produced to the public for consumption. This may lead to wrong decision making. For example, making generalization about the relationship between business and the society may give false feedback to the public and this form of research work does not stand the test of time in case a clear, valid well conducted research is done and proves its findings otherwise. It would put the credibility of scientific research into dispute.

Fourthly, the research was not specific on the target population for sampling; it used companies in the U.S and Europe without specifications for doing so. However these findings are expected to be used in the first world, newly industrialized nations and the third world alike. This is discriminatory and wrong decisions that may not apply to all these regions may take place. The report is based on myths and hearsay and therefore is not credible enough to be fully implemented. This explains the reason why the approach advocated for has not yielded much fruits. The work should have been systematic and should have used a hypothesis to go about the findings to validate the results and provide credible basis for a reliable decision making.

The approach has not been used sufficiently enough to select the problem and admissions of failure of comparatively problem choice decision was not done properly. This makes the report a serious flaw and a waste of resources. The report has failed to give recommendations to the effect of its findings and stands a chance of misleading in decision making. Recommendations form an essential part of the research work and should have been carefully done to ensure that this work is effective. The method of data collection and analysis is wanting. This report is based on the inductive situation analysis hence any situation can be induced as a basis of the report. In this case research has been conducted especially from areas considered mostly affected and not taking into consideration any that are, or could probably be more serious, but have not been highlighted. This makes the report unilateral and could affect other sectors if it were supposed to be fully implemented.

The proactive environmental approach has been discriminately conducted and key stakeholders in the issue of the environment have been forgotten making it create an impression that these firms and other businesses are the ones responsible for environmental degradation. Even though the greatest factors of pollution and environmental resource depletion are the production industry, it should not be blamed as the cause and impetus to the present global challenges. Everybody is responsible for the problems. (Jose F.Molina Azorin, 2007).

This approach is notably versed with academics and practitioners leaving out the implementers who are the chief threat to the environment. The industries have been gagged to implement an environmental conservation responsibility making it very hard to implement. These stakeholders should have been involved at every stage of development of this report. This approach has had flaws as pertains to motivation and involvement. This has made it very had to achieve the set objective since the participants are interested in the certification rather than the outcome of this report. (Monica Cavalcanti, 2007),

Comparisons

In comparison to other reports, this report is very good but has not used the relevant scientific parameters in right from the start to implementation. According to Beysse K and Alain Verbeke, 2002, the approach should include an empirical analysis of the link between the environmental strategy and management of the stakeholders. It should involve firms proactively at every level of its development. Secondly it should involve a wider coverage of more stakeholders; thirdly this approach involves the voluntary and willingness of the stakeholders to implement. It is not related to government and any legal legislation. (Beysse and Verbeke A, 2002).

According to Sharma, Sanjay, Aragon Correa, Jalberto, Rueda Manzanares, Antonio it is noted that the implementation of the proactive environmental approach is not determined by external factors but that these firms should be fully responsible for their actions. They based their argument on the premise that capabilities should be the key force behind implementation contingencies. This study was widely researched in 134 North American and European ski resorts. (Sharma, Sanjay, Aragon Correa, J, Alberto, Rueda Manzanares, Antonio 2007).

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According to Yaacob, M, he assesses the response of business entities to pressure created due to environmental concerns. According to Yaacob, M; 2007.He noted that these businesses had to take the pressure seriously because their survival depended on it. He analyses how the business responds to the stakeholders, what is called environmental strategy. He noted that out of the different environmental strategies used by the companies he studied in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia, he realized the environmental proactivists exercised the highest environmental care. These companies are said not to resist any environmental regulatory measures hence environmentally friendly. This made then gain comparative advantage over other companies. (Yaacob, Mohd Rafi, 2007).

A study conducted by Sharma, Sanjay, Vredenburg, Harrie, on Canadian oil and gas companies realized that strategies of proactive responsiveness to the uncertainties common in business and ecological issues influence the generation of specific organizational capabilities. These capabilities were in turn found out to affect competitiveness. (Sharma, Sanjay, Vredenburg, Harrie, 1998).

A concerned environmentalist, I am deeply moved to play my role effectively in ensuring that the future of the world and the life in it is not terminated by the visible gradual but disastrous environmental degradation, depletion, pollution and abuse. It is with the same zeal that I wish to play an effective proactive environmental strategies role in bringing positive change through corporate holistic participation. I stand to support this approach in environmental conservation over the others even though any input by these comparatively ineffective approaches is most appreciated.

The strong points of this approach are that it is very profitable in terms of public opinion which in turn affects the image of the firm and its performance. Secondly it is voluntary and does not require any legal interventions and sanctions to act upon. The disadvantage or weak point with this approach is that due to the competitive market based economy, many firms may not take the voluntary initiative to implement it. This is a very good indication of the present state of knowledge and ideas on the issue of environmental conservation especially now that the whole world is under threat of global warming and other serious concerns like increase in the number of chronic ailments. I have learnt that the existence of businesses depend on their relationship with the environment.

Conclusion

Today the business environment is dynamic and they complexity is always on an upward trend. While it has been stated that there are important roles played by the companies in any particular industry, in order to be able to pinpoint some of the effects that these numerous organizations have, it is important to do a current research using new primary data sources. This way the research will be more straightforward thus more credible. Apart from this, the recommendations should be contained in the report to be forwarded to a specific body for evaluation and implementation.

References

  1. Aragon J, Correa and E.A Lopez.2008. Proactive corporate Environmenytal strategies.
  2. Beysse and Alain Verbeke, 2002. Proactive environmental strategies: A stake holder management perspective.
  3. Bruce A. Martin, 2005. Creating value with proactive environmental strategies.
  4. Cavalcanti M, 2007. How to define environmental policy to improve corporate sustainability in developing countries.
  5. Jose F. Molina Azorin. 2007..Environmental practices and firm performance: an empirical analysis in the Spanish Hotel Industry.
  6. Sharma, Sanjay, Aragon Correa, Jalberto, Rueda Manzanares, Antonio 2007.
  7. Yaacob, Mohd Rafi, 2007. An Investigation of the Malaysian Palm Oil Industry’s

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