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Environmental respect: ethics or simply business? a study in the small and medium enterprise (SME) context

Cambra-Fierro, J.J. and Hart, S. and Polo-Redondo, Y. (2008) Environmental respect: ethics or simply business? a study in the small and medium enterprise (SME) context. Journal of Business Ethics, 82 (3). pp. 645-656. ISSN 0167-4544

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Abstract

In recent years there have been ever-growing concerns regarding environmental decline, causing some companies to focus on the implementation of environmentally friendly supply, production and distribution systems. Such concern may stem either from the set of beliefs and values of the company's management or from certain pressure exerted by the market - consumers and institutions - in the belief that an environmentally respectful management policy will contribute to the transmission of a positive image of the company and its products. Sometimes, however, ethics and market rules are not enough to deal with this situation and specific laws must be considered. This is the case when companies base their activity on the ‹ethics of self-interest' concentrating their efforts on projecting an adequate image - e.g. environmental respect - rather than fundamentally behaving in environmentally respectful ways. This article, taking as reference the SME context, discusses the reasons for implementing environmentally friendly systems. Both ethics and business seem to be relevant and, therefore, a certain balance between market and interventionism seems to be necessary.