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BUGEN 5930 Business, Society and the Planet: Case Study Questions Assessment Answer

BUGEN 5930 – Business, Society and the Planet

Final Assessment Task - Individual Written Assignment

1. Assessment Overview

Your final assessment task for BUGEN 5930 – Business, Society and the Planet will be:

  • An individual written assignment;
  • Marked out of 100 and is worth 40% of your final result for this course;
  • To be submitted online, in the University Exam Period;
  • Completed at your home (or another safe place of your choosing). This task is comprised of 3 parts:

Part A - Resource Summary – (35 marks) Part B – Short answer questions – (30 marks)

Part C – Application of theory to a case study – (35 marks)

2. Task Description

Part B  Short Answer Questions  30 marks

You are required to provide written responses to 3 (three) of the 4 (four) questions below. Each question is worth 10 marks.

Your response to each question should be ¾ - 1 page in length (375 – 500 words).

In preparing your responses to these questions, you may need to access additional materials (articles, videos, reports, quizzes) that are available from the course Moodle page and/or the links in the questions.

Question 1  10 marks

According to International Integrated Reporting Counci(2013, p. 3):

All organizations depend on various forms of capital for their success. These capitals are stores of value that, in one form or another, become inputs to the organization’s business model. They are also increased, decreased or transformed through the activities of the organization in that they are enhanced, consumed, modified or otherwise affected by those activities.

  1. One of these capitals used by our organisations is natural capital. What is natural capital and how can it be measured?
  2. Identify the specific ways in which a large supermarket chain could increase and decrease its impacts on natural capital?

Question 2  10 marks

In recent years, many countries including Australia, Malaysia, United Kingdom, India and Hong Kong, have seen the emergence of the ‘social entrepreneurship’ approach to responsible business.

  1. What is ‘social entrepreneurship’ and how does this approach improve social, environmental and economic sustainability?
  2. Describe in detail one example of a social enterprise and how it is addressing one or more of the UN Sustainable Development Goals?

Question 3  10 marks

Both Annie Leonard and the Natural Step identify ‘Closing the loop’ as being a key strategy for sustainable business.

  1. Describe what was meant by ‘Closing the Loop’ and how this strategy can assist manufacturing businesses to increase their efficiency and reduce costs.
  2. Discuss some of the actions taken by Interface to close the loop in their transition to becoming a more sustainable company

Question d)  10 marks

Complete the Global Footprint Network’s Ecological Footprint Calculator Quiz. When responding to the quiz questions, make sure you click on the ‘Add details to improve accuracy’ link to ensure your ecological footprint results are as accurate as possible.

Once you have read the results of this quiz, you need to:

  • Copy & Paste your quiz results (or take a screenshot) – 2 screenshots required – your results must include:
    • The page with your Earth Overshoot Day, and number of Earths we would need if everyone lived like you, AND, click on the See Details arrow/link;
    • The more detailed results, which shows your footprint By Land Type, By Consumption Category, global hectares and carbon emissions;
  • Reflect on these results:
    1. To what extent do you believe your ecological footprint calculator results are (or are not) an accurate indicator of the environmental impacts of your lifestyle? Give reasons for your answer.
    2. To what extent do you believe sustainable consumption is (or is not) important for the health of local and global business activities. Give reasons for your answer.

Part C  Giving Voice to Values  35 marks

This task requires you to read the (attached) scenario ‘Doing Bad to do Good’, from Babson College, and apply the Giving Voice to Values (GVV) framework to respond to the ethical dilemma presented. To demonstrate this application, you need to respond to all of the following questions relating to the scenario. You should aim to write at least 3 pages (1500 words) in response to Part C.

Question C1 – 6 marks – 250 words

Who are the key stakeholders impacted by the ethically questionable behaviour/practice outlined in this scenario and what is at stake for these key parties?

Question C2 - 6 marks – 250 words

What are the reasons and rationalisations that may be used by those trying to justify the ethically questionable behaviour and/or business practice that is causing the main character’s ethical dilemma?

Question C3 - 6 marks – 250 words

What are the most powerful & persuasive responses (i.e. levers) the main character could use to respond to these reasons/ rationalizations? To whom should the argument be made? When? In what context? How can they be applied to enable the main character to act on his/her values, in a way that maximises the positive impact and minimises negative outcomes for all stakeholders?

Question C4 (17 marks) – 750 words

Develop a script that applies the GVV framework to this scenario. This script should begin at the point where the scenario ended. This must include dialogue of conversations with one or more key stakeholders in which the main character is able to give voice to her/his values, by using the most appropriate levers to respond to the most likely reasons and rationalisations, to achieve a more ethical outcome for all stakeholders.

Babson Scenario - “Doing Bad to Do Good”

Caroline ran a small consultancy firm that specialized in offering business support services to local community organizations and social enterprises. Caroline grew up in the local community where she worked and members of her extended family still lived there. Her first job was as a community economic development worker, facilitating the development of social enterprises within the community. Over the past 20 years, Caroline had worked with (and for) many community and state organizations and had a reputation as a conscientious, trustworthy and ethical consultant.

Even though the community organizations or social enterprises were Caroline’s direct clients in her consultancy business, often the funding for the work came from program-based local state funding agencies or corporate donors. In addition to writing business plans and providing financial accounts and marketing services, Caroline was often asked to provide program evaluation services. For this work, Caroline was hired by the community organization (under contract) to carry out an evaluation of that organization’s programs. Her fee, however, was arranged and paid directly by the state agency in order to facilitate transparency.

Caroline had been asked by a state agency to carry out a financial evaluation of a community organization that worked with severely disabled clients and assisted them with their applications for state financial income and medical support. Without the assistance of the community organization, whose employees and volunteers worked tirelessly to help their clients 24/7, the majority of these individuals would be unable to live above the poverty line.

While conducting the evaluation, Caroline learned that in some cases the information provided on the client’s application for statutory support was exaggerated in order to secure the highest allotment of funding for the client. When confronted, the Director of the community organization admitted that on occasions, his employees inflated some disabilities so that their clients would not lose out financially. He admitted that this was an unwritten policy of the organization. His rationale for this was that the state agency’s criteria for the benefits meant that his employees must “do bad to do good” for their clients.

Caroline knew the community organization very well, and held its employees in the highest regard. She knew that the employees collectively held substantial knowledge and experience in the field and were competent and highly motivated towards achieving the social mission of the organization. She also realized that without the services offered by the community organization and the state benefits, their clients would be in dire financial need.

Under the terms of reference for the evaluation, Caroline was required to report on the application process carried out between the community organization and its clients. If she revealed this “doing bad to do good” practice, it could have a catastrophic effect on the reputation of the community organization and its employees. If Caroline did not report on the practice, and at a later point the fraudulent activities of the community organization became known, Caroline’s reputation as an independent and trustworthy consultant could come under scrutiny which could end her business and her relationship with state agencies. Caroline knew what she wanted to do but how could she highlight the application problems, without sacrificing the clients’ much needed funds and without risking the Director’s position in the community organization?


Part B: Short answer questions 

Question 1

a) What is natural capital and how can it be assessed?

Natural capital refers to the world’s storage of natural resources including air, soil, water geology and all the living things. From natural capital, people obtain a wide variety of services, which is called an ecosystem. Nature is invaluable and in financial terms, it offers value to the people. For instance, in California, street trees offer $1 billion every year in the ecosystem service by preventing flood and regulating atmosphere. Natural capital is a term of non-renewable and renewable resources like animals, plans, water, air, minerals and soil, which integrate to generate a stream of profits to the people. It signifies that any part of nature, which benefits people or reinforces the delivery of benefits to individuals are considered as natural capital (Natural Capital, 2020). 

It is important to measure natural capital and it can be measured in several ways. Natural capital evaluations can be measured in monetary and physical units. In physical terms, one can count the estate of forest and the number of trees is there. On the other side, in monetary terms, the value of the forest can be measured. Both types of measures are important for various reasons. This reflects practice in conventional national accounts, where estimates are provided both the constant price that is a physical measure or consistent volume and current price that is monetary terms (Bright, Connors & Grice, 2019).

b) Identify the specific ways in which large supermarket chains could increase and decrease their impacts on natural capital? 

Measuring natural capital allows large supermarket chains to decide how they can reduce their effect on natural capital.A major step in the implementation of the natural capital protocol is to decide the way an organisation is contributing to the transformation to the condition of natural capital and the way the impact can be reduced. For organisations having supply chain, some of the huge effects on natural capital take place upstream within the value chains, specifically on ranches, where raw ingredients are produced. While organisations cannot control or own the natural resources themselves, they get the benefit from ecosystem products and services they offer. By supporting the implementation of effective conservation and farming practices, companies can protect and reinstate the ecosystems. They need the chances to determine positive effects and display they are retreating the trend of environmental degradation. However, many organisations do not have access to correct measures, which are simple to apply and powerful to the decision-making method. Organisations require reliable information on the link between the functions and natural capital effects throughout their supply chain and operations (Ouyanget al. 2016). 

Question 2

a) What is social entrepreneurship and how does it enhance environmental, economic and social sustainability?

Social entrepreneurship utilises business to provide new ideas for wide-scale environmental and social impact. Social entrepreneurship combines the desire of a social mission including an image of corporate-like innovation, discipline and fortitude. Several social entrepreneurs introduce completely new businesses implementing risk-taking and innovative strategies for generating scalable solutions that include discovering new goods and services. Social entrepreneurs develop sustainable companies that can be established as traditional or non-profit organisations with an inclusive aim to attain sustainable, large scale and methodical changes through new undertakings (Rey-Martí, Ribeiro-Soriano& Palacios-Marqués, 2016). As commented byChellet al. (2016), social entrepreneurship is considered as a problem solver of the society. Social elite is a type of social entrepreneur, who has a long-term passion for charitable work and social cause. Another type of social entrepreneur is social grassroots, who are regarded as social activists and aimed at improving society. Social entrepreneurship focuses on disrupting the current markets, which are ineffective and developing new ones for enhancing the status quo. The early innovators can run a business, which prioritises the welfare of the community and employees as well as the environment without losing profitability. Thus, it not just brings sustainability to the society or environment, but also to the economic condition of the country. 

b) Describe one example of a social enterprise in detail and how it is addressing one or more of the sustainable development goals of the UN?

Ecolohas Energy Technology Co. Ltd is a social enterprise of Australia, which is focused at addressing one of the sustainable development goals of UN that is ensuring access to reliable, affordable, modern and sustainable energy for all. The company is committed to develop and use renewable energy (SDGs: Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform, 2020). By installing wind power and solar energy to attain reduction of CO2 emission, it is aimed at reducing the consumption of fossil fuels. Ecolohas reinforces the based needs of energy in worldwide rural areas. With renewable energy storage method and renewable energy, to offer reliable, clean and sustainable power supply. The company conducts professional planning for generating renewable energy power, smart microgrid, smart energy storage method and distributed grid for ensuring people have the access to affordable and sustainable energy sources (Ecolohas Energy Technology Co. Ltd, 2020). 

Thus, it concentrates on achieving one of the SDGs of the UN by focusing on generating and offering sustainable energy solutions to everyone and achieving the goal successfully.

Questions 3

a) Describe what was meant by ‘closing the loop’ and how the strategy can help manufacturing businesses to improve their efficiency and reduce costs

Closing the loop refers to the system that cycles from extraction to manufacturing, to supply, to consumption and then back again to extraction. Leonard necessitates people to reject the backdated culture of 1950 of consumption and being involved with the modern system.Closed-loop in supply chain management is all advancing logistics within the supply chain such as material procurement, manufacturing and distribution and the reverse logistic to accumulate and process returned goods for ensuring an ecologically and socio-economically sustainable recovery (Lassneret al. 2017).

As commented by Widgeet al. (2018), closed-loop recycling is usually a manufacturing process, which involves collecting, recycling and utilising post-consumer waste for making new products. This method can be used as simply as aluminium is recycled for making new cans. For making the closed-loop activity to work properly, all the manufacturers need to work in collaboration with the recyclers and consumers to reclaim important materials from the waste heap and using them for developing new products. Thus, the strategy attempts for sustainability by enhancing environmental and economic goals concurrently. Applying this strategy, the manufacturing companies can improve the efficiency of its supply chain a well as can reduce the production cost significantly. The application of closed-loop strategy enables organisations linking with the supply chain for closing the loop that helps in changing into a circular economy from a flow economy that leads to improved efficiency and reduced cost. 

b) Discuss some of the actions taken by the interface to close the loop in their transition to becoming a more sustainable organisation

The interface is an international manufacturer of marketable flooring with a combined collection or resilient flowing and carpet tiles including rubber flooring and luxury vinyl tile. The company developed a task force for doing something for the environment and declared that the organisation is devoted to becoming the first environmentally sustainable organisation and the restorative company of the world. For achieving this, Interface included the professionalism of activities, authors, entrepreneurs and scientists. It set many targets like zero waste, zero water use, zero-emission of greenhouse gas and so on. The firm is experimenting continuously with the recyclable and renewable materials and launched its glue-free installation system. Further, the Cool Blue method of Interface allowed it to use a broad variety of materials for its support and become less reliant on petroleum. For its 25 years of sustainability voyage, the company has changed its approach to close the loop and perception. It is concentrated on reducing environmental impacts and social impacts. The Net-Works turns rejected fishing nets into additional income for the members of society and the 100% recycled material nylon is used in carpet tiles (Our History, 2020).

Part C: Giving voice to values

C1) Key stakeholders that are impacted by ethically questionable practice or behaviour that are outlined in the scenario:

According to Hueske & Guenther (2015), for performing a particular task, the involvement of the stakeholders is necessary. Stakeholders are involved in performing their tasks in achieving a particular task (Bouzon, Govindan & Rodriguez, 2018). The main stakeholders who are impacted by the ethically questionable practice that are outlined by the scenario are Caroline who ran the small constancy firm that ha the socialisation in offering services regarding business support to the social enterprise and community organisation. From the case, it has been observed that Caroline is associated with the financial evaluation of the particular community organisation. 

Other stakeholders in the case scenario are the director of the community organisation. The main intention of the director is protecting its employees from anything bad.  The director of the organisation knows that the employees inflated disabilities so that the clients (disabled) of the organisation would not face any kind of financial issues. The director of the organisation thinks it as one of the unwritten criteria for the organisation. The rationale of the director of the community organisation in offering the benefit does bad for the goods for the clients/ 

Moreover, the employees of the organisation are also the stakeholders of the community organisation.  An employee of the organisational collectively held a substantial experience as well as knowledge to offer better services to the clients of the organisation. The employees are highly motivated and competent in achieving the social mission of the organisation.

C2) Rationalisation and the reasons that might be used by those who justify ethically questionable behaviour that cause ethical dilemma:

As stated by Anderson & Anderson (2018), ethical dilemma refers to the issues in the decision making among two different moral imperatives, neither of which `are unambiguously preferable not acceptable. In this case study, it has been observed that the director of the community organisation that offers supports to the disable people sometimes offers exaggerated support to the client by securing the highest allotment of the funds. When Caroline has understood the issues then the director of the organisation has demonstrated the fact that they are doing bad for good. According to the director, these extra facilities offer good financial support to their clients. In this condition, Caroline has to report the process of application that are carried out by the clients and the community organisation. In this condition, the ethical dilemma has been generated. This is because; if Caroline reveals the present practice of the community organisation then it can reduce the reputation of the organisation along with the employees of the organisation. On the other hand, if Caroline overlooks the ethical issues and fraudulent behaviour of the community organisation then it can destroy her reputation as well as trustworthiness. Caroline has an effective career opportunity to provide support to the social organisation and community organisation. Therefore, it is very hard for her in deciding the perfect option among the two different options.

C3) Persuasive and powerful responses that the main character used in responding to a rationalisation:

Caroline can explain the fact with the help of utilitarianism philosophy. According to Lyons (2015), utilitarian believes that the main purpose of morality is making life better. By applying this philosophy to the case study, it can be said that Caroline must reveal the fact because it is a good thing that can generate a better life. This is because; if Caroline will not reveal the fact then it can harm her career and the reputation of the organisation if people will be able to know the fact. Therefore, Caroline must represent the fact differently so that it cannot hamper her career and reputation of the company.

The argument must be made with the director of the community organisation. This is because the organisation is associated with fraudulent behaviour. The argument must be made during developing the report on the process of application among the customers and the community organisation.

The argument has been made when deciding on two different option such as revealing the fact of a community organisation that is associated with fraudulent behaviour and overlooking the fraudulent behaviour and saving them.

For maximising the positive impact and minimising the negative impact, it is necessary to represent a fact in the way so that it cannot harm any of the parties (Bosse & Phillips, 2016). For this purpose, Caroline can show the extra funds as the requirements for the organisation. However, she must discourage the director of the community organisation to avoid fraudulent behaviour.

C4) Develop script by applying GVV framework:

GVV presents the giving voice to values approach to the value-driven leadership development (Mintz, 2016). GVV begins with the assumption that most of the people wanted to behave ethically (Miller, Shawver & Mintz, 2020). GVV has been developed or the ethical program of business but the lesson of GVV ate now applicable in every professional field (Shawver & Miller, 2018). In this case, the key stakeholder is Caroline who must develop a conversation with the director of the community organisation so that ethical dilemma can be resolved with efficiencies. For resolving the ethical dilemma, different pillar of GVV that must be used are first pillar, the sixth pillar and 7th pillar. The main values of Caroline are honesty, integrity, fairness, promise-keeping along with the trustworthiness, respect for others and abiding every law. For resolving the ethical dilemma, Caroline must develop the solution that can resolve the issues without harming any of the parties. For applying any ethical solution to the ethical dilemma, it is necessary for providing rationalisation and the reasons so that people can understand the reason behind the solution.  The script among Caroline and the director of community organisation are shown below: 

Caroline: Sir, I know that you are helping your client who needs your assistance but I think that it is unethical. I think that for a well-established organisation, there must be a reason for every expense. Therefore, if you want to offer exaggerated facilities to the client without any transparency then it is one of the fraudulent behaviour.

Director: I know Caroline what you are talking about. I also know that it is not an ethical behaviour for an organisation but it is one of the unwritten policies of our organisation.

Caroline: Please sir, try to understand my point.

Director: You do not understand my point Caroline; some clients need extra financial advantages because they do not have sufficient financial strength.  We only offer financial assistance to them.

Caroline: For offering my consultancy, I have always followed honesty, trustworthiness and following every laws and regulation. Then, Sir, you have to tell me how I can support the fraudulent behaviour done by your organisation

Director: I understand what do you wanted to say but your recommendation can create difficulties for some of my clients

Caroline: Please sir, tell me what should I do? If I reveal the fraudulent fact about your organisation then it can destroy your reputation. None of the organisation or your clients will not be able to trust you if I reveal the fact. On the other hand, if I overlook the fraudulent behaviour then it can hamper my career if another person will be able to know about it.

Director: You are the consultant; therefore, you must identify the solution

Caroline: Sir, I think that the extra money that you spend on the client must be adjusted on other expenditure. This is because; I cannot show the exaggerated expenditure on your clients. Moreover, I want to recommend you to avoid this kind of activities. 

Director: Ok tell me the reason and the rationalisation behind it

Caroline: Sir, you can clearly understand that it is really difficult in openly stating the fraudulent behaviour. Moreover, I can overlook the matter as I am an ethical person. Therefore, adjusting the extra money on other expenditure would be better.

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