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Precautionary principle
when industrial activity poses a risk to human health or ecosystems, if that risk is poorly understood, then prudence calls for restraint
small particles formed in the atmosphere by photochemical reactions of gases found in urban smog
Volatile organic compounds
gases that form liquid or solid carbon-based compounds such as gasoline or floor wax. In sunlight they react with other pollutants to form urban smog
Criteria pollutants
six natural substances released in large quantities that cause substandard air quality –carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, ozone, particulates, and lead
Corporate social responsibility
the duty of a corporation to create wealth in ways that avoid harm to, protect, or enhance societal assets
those who believe in the maximum freedom, or liberty, to act or use property without interference by others, especially the government
Andrew Carnegie
gave $350 million during his life to social causes, built 2,811 public libraries, and donated 7.689 organs to churches. Wrote “The Disgrace of Dying Rich” and argued that it was the duty of a man of wealth to consider all surplus revenues as trust funds which he is called upon to administer
Social Darwinism
a philosophy of the late 1800s and early 1900s that used evolution to explain the dynamics of human society and institutions. The idea of “survival of the fittest” in the social realm implied that rich people and dominant companies were morally superior
Herbert Spencer
attempted a synthesis of human knowledge based on the unifying idea of evolution. When he visited the US in 1882 a grand dinner attended by 200 leading Americans was held for him. He approved of some charity, though only when it raised the character and superiority of the giver. The overall effect of his arguments was to moderate charity by business leaders and retard the growth of a modern social conscience.
Ultra vires
a Latin phrase denoting acts beyond the powers given the corporation by law
an agent of a company whose corporate role puts him or her in a position of power over the fate of not just stockholders, but of others such as customers, employees, and communities
Service principle
a belief that managers served society by making companies profitable and that aggregate success by many managers would resolve major social problems
Henry Ford
inventor and industrialist. The public made him a folk hero and saw him as a generous employer. But he manipulated workers to lower costs
theory that the sole responsibility of a corporation is to optimize profits while obeying the law
Value chain
the sequence of coordinated actions that add value to a product or service
Civil regulation
regulation by nonstate actors based on social norms or standards enforced by social or market sanctions
External cost
production cost not paid by a firm or its customers, but by members of society
the application of one nation’s laws within the borders of another nation
Soft law
statements of philosophy, policy, and principle found in nonbonding international conventions that, over time, gain legitimacy as guidelines for interpreting the “hard law” in legally binding agreements
a standard that arises over time and is enforced by social sanction or law
Codes of conduct
formal statements of aspirations, principles, guidelines, and rules for corporate behavior
Sustainability reporting
the practice of a corporation publishing information about its economic, social, and environmental performance
Fair trade
payment of wages to small, marginal agricultural producers in developing nations sufficient to allow sustainable farming and labor practices
Management standard
a model of the methods an organization can use to achieve certain goals
Business model
the underlying idea or theory that explains how a business will create value by making and selling products or services in the market
Mission statement
a brief statement of the basic purpose of an organization
Stakeholder map
a diagram showing stakeholders and their relationship to the firm
a basic approach, method, or plan for achieving an objective
the state in which company social policies, processes, and actions are visible to external observers
Sustainable development
economic growth that meets the needs of the present without consuming social and environmental resources in a way that harms future generations
Triple bottom line
an accounting of a firm’s economic, social, and environmental performance
verification by audit that information in a corporate sustainability report is correct
concern for the welfare of society expressed by gifts of money or property to the needy or to activities for social progress
the desire to give to, help, or improve others and society with no expectation of self-gain in return
Checkbook philanthropy
a traditional, passive form of corporate philanthropy characterized by donations to multiple worthy causes without any relationship to business strategy
Strategic philanthropy
a form of corporate philanthropy in which charitable activities reinforce strategic business goals
a probability existing somewhere between zero and 100 percent that a harm will occur
Risk assessment
the largely scientific process of discovering and weighing dangers posed by a pollutant
Hazard assessment
the process of establishing a link between a substance, such as a chemical, and human disease. The link is established primarily by animal tests and epidemiological studies
Dose-response assessment
a quantitative estimate of how toxic a substance is to humans or animals at varying exposure levels
to infer the value of an unknown state from the value of another state that is known
Linear does-response rate
a relationship in which adverse health affects increase or decrease proportionately with the amount of exposure to a toxic substance
an exposure point greater than zero at which a substance begins to pose a health risk. Until this point, or threshold, is reached, exposure to the substance poses no health risk
Exposure assessment
the study of how much of a substance humans absorb through inhalation, ingestion, or skin absorption
Risk characterization
a written statement about a substance summarizing the evidence from prior stages of the risk assessment process to reach an overall conclusion about its risk. It includes discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of data and, if the data support it, a quantitative estimate of risk
Cost-benefit analysis
the systematic identification, quantification, and monetization of social costs and social benefits so they can be directly compared
Contingent valuation
a method for assigning monetary worth to ecological goods or services that are not traded in markets
Value of a statistical life
the amount that people exposed to pollution are willing to pay to reduce the risk of premature death
Command-and-control regulation
the practice of regulating by setting uniform standards, strictly enforcing rules, and using penalties to force compliance
Market incentive regulation
the practice of harnessing market forces to motivate compliance with regulatory goals
Environmental tax reform
the substitution of revenues from taxes on pollution for revenues from taxes on productivity
Cap and trade
a market-based policy of pollution abatement in which emissions are capped and sources must hold tradeable permits equal to the amount of their discharges
Carbon offsets
projects that compensate for all or part of a company’s greenhouse gas emissions by eliminating the CO2 equivalent of those emissions from another source
Clean development mechanism
a carbon offset program set up under the Kyoto Protocol. It allows developed companies to meet greenhouse gas reduction pledges by paying for carbon offset projects in developing nations
Toxics release inventory
an EPA program that requires facilities handling any of 650 hazardous chemicals to disclose amounts each year that are released or transferred. The information is made public
Voluntary regulation
regulation without statutory mandate, compulsion, or sanctions
Harvey Wiley
campaigned for pure food standards
a person who uses products and services in a commercial economy
a term denoting (1) a movement to promote the rights and powers of consumers in relation to sellers and (2) a powerful ideology in which the pursuit of material goods beyond subsistence shapes social conduct
a wave of new, challenging ideas based on human reason and scientific inquiry. It swept over western Europe in the eighteenth century
the idea, arising in the Enlightenment, that human beings are ends in themselves
an emphasis on material objects or money that displaces spiritual, aesthetic, or philosophical values
Thornstein Veblen
a satirical writer who wrote an account of modern consumer society. He outraged economists of his day with the insight that people bought products not for their utility, but to show off
Product liability
a doctrine in the law of torts that covers redress for injuries caused by defective products
a private wrong committed by one person against another person or her or his property. An injury to a consumer caused by a manufacturer’s defective product is one kind of tort
an unintentional failure to act as a reasonable, prudent person exercising ordinary care
a relationship giving parties a common interest under the law, as in the relationship between parties to a contract
a contract in which the seller guarantees the nature of the product. The seller must compensate the buyer if the warranty is not fulfilled.
Express warranty
an explicit claim made by the manufacturer to the buyer
Implied warranty
an unwritten warranty that a product is adequate to meet a buyer’s reasonable expectations that it will fulfill its ordinary purpose and they buyer’s particular purpose
Strict liability
the theory that liability exists, even in the absence of negligence, when an activity or product is inherently dangerous
Replacement fertility rate
the number of children a woman must have on average to ensure that one daughter survives to reproductive age
Structural change
any shift in the proportions of agricultural, goods-producing, and service occupations in the economy
Agricultural sector
the economic sector that includes farming, fishing, and forestry occupations
Goods-producing sector
the economic sector that includes manufacturing, mining and construction
Service Sector
the sector of occupations that add value to manufactured goods
Business process
any sequence of action that adds value to a product or service
the transfer of work from within a company to an outside supplier
the transfer of work from a domestic to a foreign location or to a foreign supplier
Employment contract
the agreement by which an employee exchanges his or her labor in return for specific pay and working conditions. It is an abstract concept, but may also be set forth in writing
Liberty of contract
the freedom of employers and workers to negotiate the employment contract –including wages, hours, duties, and conditions –without government interference
a theory in law that an employment contract can be ended by either the employer or the employee without notice and for any reason
a Japanese word denoting death from the stress of overwork
Social welfare model
a form of industry –labor –government cooperation in which government strongly regulates the labor market to secure expansive rights and high benefits for workers
Core labor standards
a set of four standards to protect basic worker rights on which there is broad international agreement
Labor flexibility
the ability to make quick and smooth shifts of workers into and out of jobs, companies, or industries as business conditions change
Natural rights
rights to which all human beings are entitled. Governments cannot grant them or take them away
Civil rights
rights bestowed by governments on their citizens
the belief that each race has distinctive cultural characteristics and that one’s own race is superior to other races
Jim Crow laws
measures enacted in the South from 1877 to the 1950s legalizing segregation in public places, buses, trains, restaurants, schools, and businesses. The term Jim Crow, taken from a song in a 19th century minstrel show, came to stand fro the practice of discrimination or segregation
Police power
an inherent power of state governments to regulate economic and social relationships for the welfare of all citizens
Separate but equal
the belief, prevalent in the South, that segregated facilities were not inherently unequal
Disparate treatment
unequal treatment of employees based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin
Disparate impact
discrimination caused by policies that apply to everyone and seem neutral but have the effect of disadvantaging a protected group. Such policies are illegal unless strongly job related and indispensable to conduct of the business
Business necessity
a legal defense a company can use to fight a disparate impact charge. It must show the practice in question was job-related and essential. To rebut this defense, a plaintiff can show that another practice was equally good and less discriminatory
80 percent rule
a statistical test for disparate impact. The test is failed when, for example, blacks or women are selected at a rate less than 80 percent of the rate at which white male applicants are selected
Affirmative action
policies that seek out, encourage, and sometimes give preferential treatment to employees in groups protected by Title VII
Sexual harassment
annoying or persecuting behavior in the workplace that asserts power over a person because of their sexual identity. It is illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Quid pro quo
a situation, defined as illegal when submission to sexual activity is required to get or keep a job
Hostile environment
a situation, defined as illegal, where sexually offensive conduct is pervasive in a workplace, making work unreasonably difficult for an affected individual
Glass ceiling
an invisible barrier of sex discrimination thwarting the advance of women to top corporate positions
Diversity management
programs to increase worker heterogeneity and make corporate cultures more friendly to employees of any race, ethnicity, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation, or disability
Affinity group
a networking group formed by employees who personify an attribute associated with bias and social isolation
Corporate governance
the exercise of authority over the members of a corporate community based on formal structures, rules, and processes
Corporate charter
the document that authorizes formation of a corporation
Fiduciary responsibility
the legal duty of a representative to manage property in the interest of the owner
Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002
a federal statue designed to prevent financial fraud. It enacted new regulations on auditing, financial reporting, and legal compliance
Inside directors
directors who are employees of the company
Outside directors
directors who are not employees of the company
Independent directors
outside directors who do not have business dealings with a corporation that would impair their impartiality
Lead director
an independent director who chairs regular board meetings of other independent directors
Institutional investors
organizational investors that buy shares in publicly traded corporations
Proxy statement
a document sent to shareholders before the annual meeting that sets forth matters requiring their vote
Performance shares
shares of company stock awarded after a fixed period of years if individual and company performance goals are met
Restricted stock
a grant of stock with restrictions. It cannot be sold until certain conditions are met, most often the lapse of a time period or meeting a performance goal
setting the exercise price of stock options at the price on a date before the date they were granted
Spring loading
granting options shortly before good news causes a share price rise
the presence of substances in the environment that inconvenience or endanger
Disability adjusted life year (DALY)
a statistical measure combining in one number years lost to premature mortality and years lived with disability. One DALY equals one lost year of healthy life
an animated, interactive realm of plants, animals, and microorganisms inhabiting an area of the nonliving environment
Ecosystem services
the productivity of natural ecosystems in creating food and fiber and in regulating climate, water, soil, nutrients and other forms of natural capital
Environmental Kuznets curve
an inverted U-shaped curve illustrating that as gross domestic product rises in emerging economies pollution goes through stages of rapid increase, leveling off, and decline
the theory that humans are separate from nature because they have the power of reason and, unlike plants and animals, souls
the belief that history is a narrative of improvement in which humanity moves from lower to higher levels of perfection
an economy in which private individuals and corporations won the means of production and, motivated by the desire for profit, compete in free market conditions of limited restraint by government. In this economy, nature is valued primarily as an input into the production process
the ethical philosophy of the greatest good for the greatest number
Land ethic
a theory that humans are part of an ethical community that includes not only other human beings but all elements of the natural environment. It implies an ethical duty to nature as well as to humanity
Deep ecology
a theory that rejects human domination of nature and holds that humans have only equal rights with other species, not superior rights. Human interference with nature is now excessive and must be drastically reduced
bias by humans toward members of their own species and prejudice against members of other species
expelling gas onto ones face
Parts per million (ppm)
the number of molecules of a chemical found in 1 million molecules of a particular gas, liquid, or solid. It can otherwise be expressed as the ratio of the molecules of a certain chemical to the total number of molecules in a gas, liquid, or solid
Hazardous air pollutants
chemical emissions that pose a health risk of serious illness such as cancer or birth defects with even small inhalation exposures
Maximum achievable control technology
a performance standard used by the EPA to control emissions of hazardous pollutants. It requires control of toxic air emissions at least equal to that achieved by the top 12 percent of sources in the industry
Acid rain
deposition of acids formed when sulfur and nitrogen compounds undergo chemical reactions in the atmosphere and return to earth in rain, hail, snow, fog, and dry fallout of acidic particles
an inert, colorless, odorless gas found in soil and rock formations. It is a naturally occurring decay product of uranium
a family of gases containing the elements chlorine, fluorine, and carbon used as refrigerants, aerosol propellants, foams, and solvents. They are inert and exceptionally stable, but break down in the upper atmosphere in ozone-consuming reactions
Greenhouse gases
atmospheric gases that absorb energy radiated from the earth, preventing it from being released into space
Emissions intensity
the amount of greenhouse gases emitted per unit of economic output, measured as tons of emissions per million dollars of the gross domestic product
a treated or untreated waste-water discharge from an industrial facility
Point source
a discrete source of effluence such as a factory, mine, ship, or pipeline
the program to clean up abandoned toxic waste sites set up by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980. It takes its name from the trust fund in which the program’s money for cleanup projects is held
K Street Project
a political machine built to promote Republican domination by aligning the lobbying industry with Republican causes
a provision in a bill allocating a specific sum for a specific project
Federal system
a government in which powers are divided between a central government and subdivision governments. In American government, the specific division of powers between the national and state governments is set forth in the Constitution
Supremacy clause
a clause in the Constitution, Article VI, Section 2, setting forth the principle that when the federal government passes a law within its powers, the states are bound by law
Separation of powers
the constitutional arrangement that separates the legislative, executive, and judicial functions of the national government into three branches, giving each considerable independence and the power to check and balance the others
Judicial review
the power of judges to review legislation and executive actions and strike down laws that are unconstitutional or acts that exceed their authority
First Amendment
an amendment to the Constitution added in 1891 as part of the Bill of Rights. It protects the rights of free speech, a free press, freedom to assemble or form groups, and freedom to contact and lobby government
Peak association
a group that represents the political interest of many companies and industries
Trade association
a group representing the interests of an industry or industry segment
Washington office
an office in Washington, DC, set up by a corporation and staffed with experts in advocating the firm’s point of view to law-makers and regulators
a combination of business interests –including corporations, trade associations, and peak associations –united to pursue a political goal
advocating a position to government
Contact lobbying
direct action with government officials or staff in meetings, phone calls, or e-mail
Background lobbying
indirect lobbying activity designed to build friendly relations with officials and staff
Grassroots lobbying
the technique of generating an expression of public, or “grassroots” support for the position of a company or lobbyist
Federal elections
elections for president, senator, and representative. The 435 representatives are elected every two years, the president and vice president every four years, and the 100 senators every six years (with 1/3 of the senators up for election biennially). Elections are held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November in even-numbered years
Political action committee
a political committee carrying a company’s name formed to make campaign contributions. The money it gives to candidates comes from individual employees, not from the corporate treasury
Election cycle
the two-year period between federal elections
Soft money
money that is unregulated as to source or amount under federal election law
Hard money
money raised and spent under the strict contribution limits and rules in federal election law
Issue advocacy
advertising that focuses on issues in a federal election but does not specifically advocate election or defeat of a candidate
Express advocacy
political advertising that expressly advocates election or defeat of a federal candidate using specific words to that effect
fund-raising by an individual who solicits multiple contributions for a candidate, then “bundles” the checks and passes them on

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