The energy sector has recently come under fire for many ethical violations and the inability to observe ethics in the way business is conducted. There exist some common areas in which most companies in the energy business fail to observe their ethical responsibilities. Some of these areas include;
Occupational health and safety laws: many companies fail to adhere to occupational health and safety laws by the way in which employees handle sensitive and dangerous material in the work place.
Environmental laws; global warming has been a phenomena that has particularly dominated world news for the better part of the last two decades. The energy sector is at the forefront of the cause and triggers of global warming. Many energy companies fail to observe their corporate social responsibility to maintaining a clean environment and continue to deposit harmful GHG (greenhouse gases in the environment.
Accounting and internal controls reports: many energy companies have come under fire for their lack of transparency in observing financial accounting and reporting standards. These companies’ officials tend to hide the true figures of the profit they make per unit of energy sold, making the company supernormal profits while evading tax.
Corruption; this is a plague in the energy business that is seen on a daily basis. The most common is in the oil mining industry where oil spills are covered up and in the event of a public oil spill, officials bribe their way out incurring liability for the environmental damage caused.
The companies that have been seen to handle social and ethical issues in the best way are also the ones that observe the CoBE within the energy sector. The best company in 2013 is Aleyska Pipeline Service Company that deals in oil (USA), Enmax Corporation of electricity (Canada), Encana Corporation of natural gas (Canada) and EDP energias de Portugal of electricity (Portugal). These companies have been listed in Forbes’ 2013 most ethical companies due to their ability and mission to observe transparency and a good sense of corporate social responsibility.
The Fukushima nuclear plan is by far the worst energy company violating all CoBE standards. The plant has experienced numerous chemical breakdown leading to the continual increase in radiation
The energy sector is particularly keen on observation of ethical standards when it comes to advertising there lies a huge difference between advertising and publicity within this industry. Advertising involves the use of mainstream media to actively increase awareness of a company’s products and/or services in order to increase sales. This is usually paid for the company whose products are being publicized. However, publicity is to increase awareness of a product and/or through events or ground breaking developments through any media. The main difference being publicity is not paid for.
An example of an ad that is in essence a publicity move is the Skanska New Energy Corridor by Skanska USA Commercial Development of the United States. The building is expected to consume 25% less energy as compared to standard buildings. This is an ethical move by the company since it only aims to raise awareness without directly seeking profit or returns by making the public aware of their new product. (Skanska reveals plans for new Energy Corridor development, 2013)
Skanska reveals plans for new Energy Corridor development. (2013, September 11). Chron. Retrieved September 11, 2013, from http://blog.chron.com/primeproperty/2013/09/skanska-reveals-plans-for-new-energy-corridor-development/