It is ethically unacceptable to sell products banned in the United States to other countries even though they might be permitted due to differences in national policies. Ethics and social responsibility play important roles in a global business environment and are impacted by governmental regulations as well as human rights protections. For example, if the American government bans the selling of extra-large candies, American companies cannot focus on the export of these candies to other countries.
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It would be ethically wrong to sell extra-large candies to developing countries only because governments of those countries have no ban on these products. Extra-large candies might be banned because of their contribution to obesity in children; therefore, these candies cannot be sold in other countries because the effect is equally harmful despite the governmental policies. From an ethical perspective, social responsibility requires compliance with the ethical standards which are globally acceptable.
Developing countries cannot become a target market for the products banned in developed countries.
The ethics of selling banned products is similar to a violation of human rights occurring during the projects of international companies in developing countries. Evidently, American companies outsource their production to poor countries such as Bangladesh and China because of the cheap workforce. People are willing to work for $2 a day and none of their employment rights is protected. Company representatives warn that lawsuits against corporations could curb investment in developing countries and even worsen the human rights conditions (“The Court of Foreign Affairs, 2003).
Sure, the regulatory body of government is not developed in poor countries and multinational corporations instead of improving living conditions contribute to further impoverishment and endanger the health of the population.
If the product is banned in one country, it means that there are serious reasons not to buy that product. Usually, the ban is related to health consequences.
From an ethical perspective, corporations have a social responsibility to stop the production and distribution of a potentially dangerous product. It is ethically unacceptable to endanger people of developing countries because they have the same human rights as people of developed countries. For example, McDonald’s Corporation is blamed for contributing to a global obesity epidemic and is obligated to expand healthy menu offerings (“McDonald’s Gets Healthier but Burgers Still Rule” 2005).
This initiative is required by the American government and it should be introduced in other countries as well even though the governments of these countries do not have requirements on healthy menus. People all over the world have equal rights despite governmental policies; therefore, the products banned in one country should not be sold in other countries.
Recently, Coca-Cola has been banned in many regions in India because this soft drink was found to contain poisonous chemicals (“Coke and Pepsi banned in India for putting poison into drinks” 2006). According to tests, the amount of harmful chemicals is gradually increasing while the company remains indifferent to global concerns. The Indian ban was spreading to the UK as well. The University of Success has banned all Coca-Cola products and protested the company’s business practices.
Students of several universities boycotted against the soft drink producer and pressured the purchasing consortium to cancel contracts with Coke. As it is clear from this example, international corporations violate their social responsibilities and do not stop the production of their products which are proved to be harmful. At the same time, the ban in India has led to the ban in the UK, and will definitely lead to the bans in other countries.
It is ethically unacceptable to sell products in any country.
Coke and Pepsi banned in India for putting poison into drinks. (2006). The Funny Business. Web.
McDonalds Gets Healthier but Burgers Still Rule. (2005). Wall Street Journal, p.B7.
The Court of Foreign Affairs. (2003). U.S. News and World Report, p. 31.