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The aim of this assessment task is to help you develop a deeper understanding of the often difficult ethical questions which are raised by some business practices. In doing so, we hope that you will be able to make more considered and informed business (and consumption) decisions in future for the benefit of both yourself and the wider society.
In your week 3 tutorial you were asked to produce a short summary of your understanding at that time of the meaning and importance of the term ‘responsible commerce’. During the course of this semester in Comm101 you have explored various historical, moral, governance and economic aspects of business behaviour both domestically and internationally.
The process of globalisation has resulted in the practice commonly referred to as 'offshoring'. That is, multinational corporations (MNC's) establishing operations in developing (i.e. poorer) countries that often lack, or do not enforce, minimum standards concerning wages, working conditions, the
use of the natural environment, etc. This is especially the case in the clothing and footwear industry, where such operations have often been labelled as 'sweatshops', sometimes employing child labour. Your task for this assessment item is to:
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The concept of Responsible Commerce delves deep into the issue that in order to build a responsible business, one must work towards building a sustainable business. The very utterance of the term 'responsible commerce' gives rise to the fact that both the corporation preventing and solving long term issues are acted upon for maximizing the benefits of the stakeholders and shareholders that in turn maintain compliance with “the spirit of the law, ethical standards and international norms.” Therefore, it can be said that Responsible Commerce entirely focuses on the individualistic ways of usage of traditional ethical views in order to evaluate the respective institutions’ organization of human behaviour (Chandler, 2006). This very notion denotes that it is part of the respective company’s activities to fulfil the duties and responsibilities that the company has to the wider community, by means of contributing to the common good for the purpose of benefitting both the company and the society. Apparently, in this age of globalization, the competition among industries have become severely cut-throat and the main factor of the companies' concern and the pursuit is how to earn more and more profit with subsequently lower operational cost. It has been observed that the principles of responsible commerce play a significant role in the development of the society, both in cultural and economic areas; for the concept is being continued to be promoted in today's world of advanced technology (Pier et al. 2003).
'Sweatshop' can be regarded as a pejorative term meant for a definitely structured workplace that has socially as well as ethically unacceptable working conditions and surroundings. As per defined by the International Labor Rights Forum, Sweatshops are the associations that violate two or more laws i.e. concerning wages, working hours, working conditions, safety and disciplinary methods implemented in real life instances (Rothstein, 2005). In this regard, the notion of 'Responsible Commerce' must be referred to for this concept of business responsibility has been designed in keeping in mind the interests of the shareholders inclusive of the employees, consumers, suppliers and contractors for engaging them all in certain activities which are solely meant for maximizing organizational profits (Å kubna et al. 2011). Both of these notions can get a foothold in the instance where Australia Post, a government-owned control has been treating its worker, mainly the parcel delivery drivers by providing them with sub-standard wages in addition to poor working conditions. In this context, the notions can found to be implemented in the given case scenario in order to demonstrate the issue where the corporation like Australia Post has substantially reduced the pay of many parcel delivery drivers and has largely increased the remuneration of the company’s top executives because of the resultantly increased profits. The essay is about connecting the links and implementing it in the given case study of Australia (Radin et al. 2006).
Such derogatory concept like 'Sweatshops' is frequent, more in developing or the poorer countries where the various workers work extended hours for low pay regardless of laws mandating eventually pay or the least wage; sometimes in infringement of the adolescent labour laws. The predominant argument against sweatshops is that the sweatshops are meant for exploiting workers by means of paying those wages that are unconscionable in nature. The Multinational Companies (MNCs) that are operating in the Third World countries i.e. poorer or the developing bunch of countries usually end up paying wages which are relatively low compared to the wages paid for similar sort of jobs in their respective home countries (Guston, 2014). It is clear from the sweatshop’s instance that, the workers working in sweatshops are literally trapped in a flinching cycle of poverty, which is caused essentially by means of exploitation and this is the reason the daily wage earners can barely afford daily expenses, i.e. nutritional need, shelter and healthcare.