Can industries be trusted to self-regulate the amount of pollution they produce?
Industries should not be trusted to self-regulate the amount of pollution because industries do not always control the amount of pollutants released to the environment which can be harmful. Since industrial activities vary from one firm to another, managers of these industries believe that cutting pollution can hurt their businesses or cause an irreparable damage at the expense of protecting the environment. They believe that environmental costs are high for most companies, and there is a little chance of a financial payback in sight from the investment on protecting the environment (Leonard, 2006).
Furthermore, industries cannot self-regulate pollution because there are no real benefits to these industries that arise from going beyond compliance to the pollution regulations. Players in the industry believe that the cost of pollution compliance is unnecessarily high, and a result of a failed regulatory system that has proved ineffective and inefficient. The managers have also failed to realize that complying with the regulations or laws on pollution are not anticipated to yield a positive financial return, but are meant to cut the amount of pollutants released to the environment. Additionally, industries have some economic forces that have made it hard to incorporate environmental excellence into their business strategies or do not have antipollution policies at all hence the need for an external agency is inevitable.
Is government really necessary to enforce these regulations?
It is essential for the government to enforce the regulations on pollution because it has a task in the implementation of uniform pollution prevention regulations so that every industry is subjected to similar prevention burdens. No company will complain about the regulation being hard on one rather than the other because different firms engage in various activities. When this happens, industries will seek cooperation with competitors to share technology that will catapult all the industries to move forward in reducing pollution and avoid the creation of a competitive advantage within the industry.
Additionally, the government should be in the forefront because it can provide incentives, source reduction goals and the intensive enforcement mechanisms such as sanctions intended to attain these goals. For example, the government steps in and demands submission of industry pollution prevention information, progress reports, slapping of penalties to facilities that do not cut the amount of pollution, and the institution of plans for preventing pollution. Governments also offer incentives to those companies which comply with the pollution regulation and adopt a specific social responsibility (Fisher, Lange & Scotford, 2013). For instance, polluters are made to pay money to the government based on how much pollutants they release, and the lowest polluters get their rebate. Moreover, the government could enforce regulations by mounting industry efficiency monitoring, campaigns, and inspections, where pollution reduction experts examine the source of pollution in industries to increase effectiveness in reducing pollution.
Should the mind of the consumer and the economic advantages of sustainable practices be sufficient to motivate industries to protect the environment?
Industries produce items for use by consumers hence should have them in mind when laying down policies for environmental protection. Stauffer (2013) notes that consumers can boycott products from a firm that has a poor track record on ecological protection or buy products that do not harm the environment. Industries should, therefore, conduct their operation and release products to the consumers while minimally impacting the environment to avoid outcry from the community. McDonough and Egolf (2015) agree that enterprises should be wary of the spread of environmentalism because consumers have expressed increasing concern about the impact of their purchases to the environment and the willingness to pay the price for products that are responsible to the environment.
Fisher, E., Lange, B., & Scotford, E. (2013). Environmental law: text, cases, and materials. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Leonard, H. J. (2006). Pollution and The Struggle for The World Product: Multinational Corporations, Environment, And International Comparative Advantage. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
McDonough, J., & Egolf, K. (2015). The Advertising Age Encyclopedia of Advertising. London: Fitzroy Dearborn.
Stauffer, J. (2013). The Water Crisis: Constructing Solutions to Freshwater Pollution. Routledge.
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