Gambia: Should company profit transcend business ethics? Business at a high cost!

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Mr. Morro Krubally,
University of The Gambia

One of the strategies considered prudent by the new government of Gambia to help emerge from the years of doldrums for business sector, is to announce to the world that the Dictator, Jammeh has been sent packing, and now Gambia is OPEN for business with the rest of the world. A primary causal effect of globalisation is borderless trade and business with the world; developed, developing, and underdeveloped economies are equally striving to stake out a niche across the globe for business internalisation. One wonders not therefore, when a Chinese fish processing company establishes a fish processing plant in a pristine sleepy coastal town of Gunjur, in The Gambia.

Whiles at first welcomed for the possibilities the company brings for job creation, and community development, the company is now considered enemy # 1, and perpetrator of environmental destruction of monumental proportions. Waste discharge Pipes laid from the factory directly to the ocean, discharges chemical wastes into the ocean; pollution that has caused significant damage to the ecosystem in the surrounding fish habitat, and for miles on end into the ocean. Of recent, the ungodly sight on the beaches of Gunjur, never seen before in Gambia, has been mass dead fish of all kinds, and sizes, strewn for miles on the beach decimating the fishing grounds for thousands of local fishermen. These local folks depend on these fishing grounds for food, income, and means to earn a decent livelihood for them, and their dependents (in Gambia’s case, often large). This is a national disaster of unimaginable proportions, as it has devastating effects on the tourists preferred beaches of Gambia (a tourism dependent country with nearly 25% contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Take note: ” The world has witnessed extreme environmental deterioration over the last few decades and in China, the extensive-growth mode has resulted in severe environmental pollution and ecological devastation, which has overwhelmingly affected people’s normal lives. Firms are widely regarded as the main cause of environmental problems and are facing tremendous pressure of environmental legitimacy from various stakeholders.” Evidentiary manifestation of environmental pollution by a fishing company in Gambia, coupled with evidence in literature, certainly provides abundant reasons for indictment to be brought against any company that engages in environmental pollution. This is an unconscionable act of profit consideration transcending the environmental, and human interest. This is antithetical to business ethics, and corporate governance rules of engagement.

The fishing company in Gambia, was found guilty in a court of law for environmental pollution. Punitive damages were levied against the company, and asked to abate bad business practices of polluting the environment. From the business perspective, business ethics is central to good business practices, and all businesses should be cognizant of this simple but critical rule. Business Ethics is about being the right type of business more than doing the right thing. The business core values most feature large in the business vision statement, and not only a slogan but demonstrably practiced to be considered a community, and societal friendly business. If we are the right type of business leaders, we will do the right thing, and wanton environmental pollution is not one of them.