Social Responsibility and Ethics
Social responsibility is an ethical theory in which individuals are accountable for fulfilling their civic duty, and the actions of an individual must benefit the whole of society. In this way, there must be a balance between economic growth, the welfare of people, and the environment. If this equilibrium is maintained, then social responsibility is accomplished.
What it Means to be Socially Responsible and Ethical?
The theory of social responsibility is built on a system of ethics, in which decisions and actions must be ethically validated before proceeding. If the action or decision causes harm to society or the environment, then it would be considered to be socially irresponsible.
Moral values that are inherent in society create a distinction between right and wrong. In this way, social fairness is believed (by most) to be in the “right”, but more frequently than not this “fairness” is absent. Every individual has a responsibility to act in manner that is beneficial to society and not solely to the individual.
When Do Social Responsibility and Ethics Apply?
The theory of social responsibility and ethics applies in both individual and group capacities. It should be incorporated into daily actions and decisions, particularly ones that will have an effect on other persons and/or the environment. In the larger group capacity, a code of social responsibility and ethics is applied within said group as well as during interactions with another group or an individual.
Businesses have developed a system of social responsibility that is tailored to their company environment. If social responsibility is maintained within a company, then the employees and the environment are held equal to the company’s economics. Maintaining social responsibility within a company ensures the integrity of society and the environment are protected.
Often, the ethical implications of a decision/action are overlooked for personal gain and the benefits are usually material. This frequently manifests itself in companies that attempt to cheat environmental regulations. When this happens, government interference is necessary.
Unfortunately, social responsibility and ethics are often not practiced by U.S. companies outside of U.S. borders, which makes regulation difficult.
Pachamama Alliance is an organization that seeks to instill social responsibility. Our partnership with the Indigenous Ecuadorian tribe, the Achuar, began when the Achuar recognized the imminent threat of oil drilling in their home. This Indigenous nation deep in the Amazon forest has inhabited this area for thousands of years and is at risk of losing their territories and culture.
The goal of Pachamama Alliance is to restore a sense of active decision-making to people around the world. Currently, the Achuar and their home are in danger because of the rampant fossil fuel industry. This is the result of a faulty system of beliefs that disregards the environment, its inhabitants, and the consequences of one's actions. A change in this worldview is imperative if the Achuar are to survive this threat; in order to do so, social responsibility at all levels is essential.