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Sustainability 2015, 7(8), 10343-10364; doi:10.3390/su70810343

Ethical Analysis for Evaluating Sustainable Business Decisions: The Case of Environmental Impact Evaluation in the Inambari Hydropower Project

1
Department Environmental Politics, Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research—UFZ, Permoserstraße 15, Leipzig 04318, Germany
2
Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Ramon Trias Fargas 25-27, Barcelona 08005, Spain
3
INSEAD, Social Innovation Center, Boulevard de Constance, Fontainebleau Cedex 77305, France
4
Avenue du Golf 61, 1640 Rhode-St-Genese, Belgium
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Yongrok Choi
Received: 13 June 2015 / Revised: 24 July 2015 / Accepted: 27 July 2015 / Published: 4 August 2015
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [717 KB, uploaded 4 August 2015]

Abstract

We propose an ethical analysis as a method to reflect on how companies’ decisions promote sustainable development. The method proceeds by first identifying the choice according to financial business interests, and by then scrutinizing this choice according to consequentialist and deontological ethics. The paper applies the method to the choice of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) that a consortium of Brazilian companies (EGASUR) delivered as part of their project proposal for the realization of the Inambari hydropower dam in the Peruvian Amazon. We show that if an EIA is chosen based on the attempt to maximize the financial bottom line, it raises ethical issues both from a consequentialist perspective by involving negative consequences for various stakeholder groups, and from a deontological perspective by not complying with relevant rules, guidelines, and principles. The two ethical perspectives hence reveal where the consortium faces impediments to a genuine commitment to sustainability. Building on stakeholder interviews, observations of the project developments, and the executive summary of the actual EIA, we provide indications that EGASUR has indeed made a choice that resembles a decision based on financial interests. View Full-Text
Keywords: sustainable development; ethical analysis; business decisions; environmental impacts; Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA); hydropower sustainable development; ethical analysis; business decisions; environmental impacts; Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA); hydropower
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Rode, J.; Le Menestrel, M.; Van Wassenhove, L.; Simon, A. Ethical Analysis for Evaluating Sustainable Business Decisions: The Case of Environmental Impact Evaluation in the Inambari Hydropower Project. Sustainability 2015, 7, 10343-10364.

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