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Ethical objectives - case study


The rules of the world of business are simply not fair! The staple meal in Senegal is imported and much of it originates in the USA. In Ghana tinned tomatoes are often from Italy, yet the country is a grower of this staple food. Just how can such poor countries such as Ghana and Senegal break out of this vicious cycle?

Their workers receive very small sums of money in their wage packets, have very few of the rights we have in the developed economies and much of the value added to their exports takes place thousands of miles away from the lands in which the crop or resource was grown or mined.

Can we in the developed world just stand by and let this happen, or should we fight for a more 'level playing field' in world trade and how we buy and sell our goods?

Should we demand of our retailers:

  • A policy of monitoring how our favourite products are grown etc and provide us with evidence that the standards we expect have been evident in the work practices of the growing or manufacturing country?
  • A policy that builds into buying systems an ethical dimension?
  • A policy between all concerned in the distribution chain that an agreed code of conduct be accepted?
  • That those who earn profits from what we buy from them act responsibly and monitor how their policies affect both society and the environment?

Perhaps if more of us raised these issues the world might just be a better place? Or will we leave it all to pressure groups?


Question 1

Explain what is meant by

(a) pressure group, and

(b) ethical trading.

Question 2

Discuss how the actions of pressure groups alter the ways in businesses buy and distribute products and services.

Question 3

Examine how a supermarket may benefit from introducing ethical trading.

Question 4

To what extent will an environmental and social audit benefit a business?