1st Edition

Environmental Ethics and Sustainability A Casebook for Environmental Professionals

By Hal Taback, Ram Ramanan Copyright 2014
    268 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    Environmental Ethics and Sustainability: A Casebook for Environmental Professionals introduces a decision-making model constructed from the viewpoint that ethics are not about the way things are, but about the way things should be.

    The first part of the book covers natural human instincts, human attitude, treatment of other species and the natural world, and fundamental concepts in environmental decision making in the public policy arena. It also provides insight and specifics on how to develop an ethics culture in an organization as well as conduct an environmental ethics education program that trains leaders, professionals, and students.

    The second part of the book identifies and deals with numerous dilemmas in a case-study format, offers options, tests ethical values, and offers practice to the environmental professionals in making the right choice and evaluating the justification for those decisions.

    The authors of this book explore the notion that doing the right thing is not a natural human instinct, and that the techniques needed for resolving an ethical dilemma require training. The book defines ethics as "the difference between what a person has the right to do and the right thing to do!" It details a framework for understanding and resolving various ethical claims and concentrates on providing hands-on practical training for environmental practitioners and students aspiring to become environmental leaders and professionals.

    Section I Environmental Ethics—Genesis and ChallengesNatural Instincts and Learned Behavior

    The (Un) ethical Culture

    Making Ethical Decisions—Six Pillars of Character

    Ethics, Philosophy, and Religion

    Environmental Ethics and Public Policy

    Human Beings and the Environment

    Environmental Economics

    Environmental Advocacy and Select Mega-Issues

    Environmental Ethics and Corporate Governance

    Evolution of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

    Framework for Reasoning to Make Ethical Decisions

    Corporate Governance and Integrated Reporting

    Environmental Ethics Training for Leaders and Professionals

    Building an Environmental Ethics Training Program

    Conducting an Environmental Ethics Training Program

    Educating Students and Leaders in Environmental Ethics

    Section II Environmental Ethical Dilemmas—Case Studies

    Environmental Dilemmas—On-the-Job Conflict Situations

    Client Attorney Directs Consultant to Not Report Findings

    Plant Operates Substantially beyond Permit Levels

    Boss Purposely Overestimates Client’s Price for a Contract Task

    Contractor Holds Back Completed Report for More Money

    Expert Witness Hired to Create Reasonable Doubt

    Colleague Seeks Help to Stop Supervisor’s Suggestive Remarks

    Plant Manager Demonstrates Compliance with Incorrect Agency Lab Data

    New EH&S Director Has to Bring Plant under Compliance and Keep It Open

    Agency Employee Moonlighting as Private Consultant

    Firm Sponsors Clients on Exotic Speaking Engagements

    Young Professional Learns the Downside of Not Blowing the Whistle

    Supervisor Uses Company Resources for Book Not under Company Auspices

    Production Manager Installs New Furnace in a Hurry without Proper Permit

    Equipment Supplier Offers Incentive to Make an "Objective" Recommendation

    Campaign Manager Advises You to Oppose Environmentally Sound Project to Win Election

    Reporting a Toxic Solvent Leak under a Production Deadline

    Reporting Previously Unpermitted Equipment in a Permit Renewal

    Resampling Discharge to Override Upset Condition Sampling Result

    Boss’s Subterfuge Puts You "on the Spot"

    Big Boss’s Friend Expected to Get the New Consulting Contract

    Contract Term Prevents Consultant from Revealing Problem

    Client Believes You Overreacted

    Your Client’s Adversary Modeler Makes Error in Your Favor

    Industry Survey Data Point Eliminated to Fit Desired Profile

    Agency Contract Modeler Uses Excessive Conservatism

    Consultant Debates Bait-and-Switch Option to Win Bid

    Environmental Dilemmas—Judgment/Decision Situations

    Company’s Environmental Release—Where Does the Buck Stop?

    Consulting Firm Client Fails to Report or Remediate Site Soil Contamination

    Agency Staff Suppresses Data to Justify Unreasonable Strict Standard

    Firm Has to Surface Competitor Deficiency without Bad-Mouthing

    Recruiter Wants You to Bring Your Customers and Key Staff

    Governmental Official Offers Funding Help in Return for Start-Up Partnership

    One Firm Wants to Report Another Firm’s Exceedance to Protect Public Health

    Client Attorney Directs You to Disregard Your Additional Contrary Findings

    Client–Attorney Privilege—Exempts Only Imminent Threat of Harm to Persons

    Expert Has to Balance Client Confidentiality and Medical Need of the Affected

    Firm Faces Welfare Extortion via Disingenuous Protest from Interest Group

    Plant Manager Installs Emission Control Equipment without Proper Permit

    Consulting Firm Bills Client at a Higher Senior Rate for Junior-Level Work

    Firm Offers Country Club Membership for Procurement Officer

    Employee Notices Dishonest Use of Company Resources by a Colleague

    Hazardous Waste Is Accidentally Sent to a Municipal Landfill

    Risk Communication—Numbers but No Panic

    Agency Inspector Ponders—To Cause a Plant Closure or Not

    TV Reporter Pressured to "Get the Dirt" on Local Industry

    New Data Blows Industry’s Agreement with EPA

    Should Consultant Use a Bounty Hunter Provision on Client?

    Environmentalist Blockade of Offshore Incineration Ship

    Doing 55 mph Only When the Cop Is Around

    Biased Agency Subordinate Stonewalls a Project

    Permitting Engineer Softens NSR Rules to Help Local Industries





    Hal Taback, PE, BCEE, QEP, REA, is president of Hal Taback Company of Carlsbad, California, a Southern California environmental consulting firm. He has over 40 years of professional practice in regulatory and engineering issues related to reducing risk from toxic air pollutants and hazardous waste and other compliance. Mr. Taback holds a master of science in aerospace engineering from Princeton University and a bachelor of mechanical engineering from the University of Rochester. He has over 140 publications in the environmental field. His papers on ethics have been published in EM Magazine, Environmental Auditor, Engineering Times, and Southern California Environmental Digest.

    Dr. Ram Ramanan, PE, CEng. BCEE is a Fulbright Fellow with over 40 years of corporate (ExxonMobil), consulting (AECOM & ICF), and academic (IIT Bombay) experience in the management of sustainability and environmental issues. Ram is an industry associate professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology and serves as Education Council Chair and Director on the International Board of A&WMA. Ram holds a PhD from the University of Texas at Dallas, an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and a BS in chemical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology. Ram has published and/or presented 40 papers worldwide.

    "Sustainable value creation requires an ethical framework that guides the strategy and behavior of organizations. This book offers a convincing case for why business must embrace purpose as well as profits if we are to safeguard our planet's natural resources. Through diverse case studies, as well as a holistic survey of ethical theory and practice, the authors provide a valuable framework for how our institutions—and ourselves—can be their best."
    ––Dipak C. Jain, INSEAD Chaired Professor of Marketing and former Dean of INSEAD, France and former Dean of Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, Illinois, USA

    "This book is an apt and timely publication, and a compelling reading, especially in this decade of raising moral and ethical decadence. Hal Taback and Ram Ramanan have deftly examined and discussed the complex tapestry of psychological (human behavior), philosophical, religious, economic, social, organizational, and public policy dimensions of "environmental ethics" with a unique and incredible perspective. The expanded and overarching connection of "ethics," as the fourth component to the traditional triple bottom-line (people, planet, and profit) of sustainability is fascinating. The subtle distinction between "ethical" and "moral" aspects for the environmental profession is remarkable. The 51 attention-grabbing real world "on-the job" conflict and judgment-decision case studies are persuasive, tackle the moral-and-ethical dilemmas convincingly, and offer practical insights and solutions to environmental practitioners and students aspiring to become environmental professionals for "doing the right thing" rather than relying on instincts."
    ––Krish Ravishankar, Director, Worldwide Environmental Affairs & Social Responsibility, Occidental Petroleum Corporation, Houston, Texas

    "Part of the book might be sustainability 101 for many. The ethical dilemmas in this book is a must read for big and small consultancy firms as well as for business and for NGO's and in a condensed version boards of directors. Some of the examples might be a little "thought-up" - but it is really important to discuss - from the consultant team to the boardroom - ideally through a facilitated discussion between the different parties. We live in a world where we do not share the same purpose - and not all share the same ethics on how to reach the defined purpose of an organization. This book is an important contribution to facilitate a discussion on the dilemmas consultants need to navigate with integrity."
    ––Helle Bank Jorgensen CEO, B. Accountability and United Nations Special Advisor to Global Compact in Canada

    "This book is a good read on a topic that is timeless—ethics. The focus on environmental ethics and hands-on learning make the book valuable for students learning about sustainability and environmental issues."
    ––Latha Ramchand, Dean and Professor, Finance, C.T. Bauer College of Business, University of Houston, Texas, USA

    "Taback and Ramanan have taken a deep dive into ethical dilemmas that confront professionals in the environmental field, and professional realms beyond. This book will be useful to students, teachers, and practitioners both as a comprehensive overview of business ethics and as a guide to making good ethical decisions in the workplace. By combining theory and practice with thoughtful resolution models, they have taken us a great step in the right direction."
    ––Ken Block, Business Ethics and Compliance Director for a Major Global Aerospace and Defense Contractor, California, USA