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Impact of Business on Natural Environment

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Impact of business on natural environment

"The corporations are first of all interested in profits and shareholder value. And in fact they have a legal responsibility to put that first. So inevitably other values like environmental and social values become secondary." Said professor Sharon Beder (Beder 1996). The growing of business is always accompanied by pollution to the environment. Environment issues have drawn greater attention since the 21st century. Companies like BHP Billiton are always at the center of these kinds of issues. Surely, mining can be very harmful to the natural environment. Strip mining may destroy landscapes, thus influence the animals lives in the mining area (Anonymous 2008). Moreover, coal mining will lower the quality of land. In China, around 5.4 million hectares of land were degraded by year 2011(Feng et al. 2012). Not only mining industry, generally all kinds of industry are making negative impacts on natural environment. For example, the paper industry, billions of trees were cut down every year to make furniture and to build houses, by year 2011, about 4 billion trees were cut down to make papers every year, and only 16% of wood were used to make papers (Baltrenas & Vaitkute 2011). In addition, the chemical industry pollution to the environment is the most serious. The pollution was so great that the Environment Protection Agency had to spend $2.7 billion to clean up pollution by bankrupt chemical company plants through 2009 (Johnson 2010). Considering, the impact of business on natural environment was huge.

There are people and organizations around the world against companies who are making profit from harming the environment, they were trying very hard to stop or slow the industry for destruction of the environment. In 2007, Arnold Schwarzenegger, the governor of California, terminated BHP's liquefied natural gas (LNG) project off the coast of Malibu. Arnie noticed that the Cabrillo Port LNG project failed to meet environment standards of California (Wilson & Nason 2007). Japan's climate change policy has also try to encourage Japanese people to use more renewable energy instead of fossil fuel energy, which can warm the earth by producing CO2. The Japanese government also supports the development of renewable energy, they are targeting at a reduction of 15% of fossil fuel energy supply by 2020 (Kondoh 2009). Moreover, the World Trade Organization (WTO) has set sustainable development as one of its central principle (Mukherji 2009).

Considering the environmental situations, BHP Billiton, standing at the center of the environmental issue, is trying its best to correct the mistakes that it has made before and to be a model company of protecting the natural environment. Most recently, BHP Billiton has promised to spend millions of dollars to protect the environment around Great Barrier Reef (Ker 2011). "We spend an enormous amount of money on environmental controls and environment staff." Says Ian Wood (Mercury 2003). Mr. Wood is the vice president in BHP Billiton, and he manages the company's sustainable development. In fact, BHP has had a policy on environment since 1991. A clear statement signed by Marius Kloppers - the chief executive officer - has been put into BHP Billiton's sustainable development

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