Economic Benefits and Ecological Sustainability: The Ethical Dilemma Involving Flower Companies
Mande W M (2016) Economic Benefits and Ecological Sustainability: the Ethical Dilemma involving Flower Companies. In Nkumba Business Journal. ISSN 1564-068X, Volume 15
22 Pages Posted: 21 Dec 2016
Date Written: October 20, 2016
Purpose This study set out to investigate the relationship between economic benefits and ecological sustainability with specific reference to flower companies in Uganda.
Background In a search for economic benefits, Uganda allowed investors to open up commercial flower farms. Consequently there are over 20 companies growing flowers on a large scale around the shores of Lake Victoria. Flowers exports fetched economic benefits like (a) increased revenue through export of flowers; (b) employment of approximately 13,600 people; and (c) corporate social responsibility. Whereas economic benefits were welcome, there arose cases of discontent because flower farms used chemicals which killed off essential insects including bees, destroyed wetland and reduced fish in Lake Victoria. In that way ecological sustainability was jeopardised.
Methods The objectives of this study were: (1) to analyse the relationship between economic benefits and ecological awareness; (2) to assess the relationship between ecological awareness and ecological sustainability; and (3) to analyse the relationship between economic benefits and ecological sustainability. In order to obtain data for analysis, the study used survey method and interviews. The main research tool used was a questionnaire.
Findings Flowers farms in Uganda exported approximately 103,501 metric tonnes of flowers between 1994 and 2015. This export fetched about $460 million. For a low income country, the above earnings were a boon. It was found that: (a) there was no significant relationship between economic benefits and ecological awareness [r (108) =.008, p>0.05]. To achieve substantial economic benefits flowers companies ignored ecological degradation. (b) There was a clear relationship between ecological awareness and ecological sustainability [r (108)=.257, p<0.01]. The more people were ecologically aware, the more they were likely to advocate for ecological sustainability. (c) There was no significant relationship between economic benefits and ecological sustainability [r (108) =.037, p>0.05]. Since wetlands and essential insects were destroyed in order for flower farms to thrive, the relationship could not have been congenial.
Conclusion What emerged out the flower companies activities was an ethical dilemma for the country. Should flower farms be permitted to operate and bring in economic benefits but disorganise the ecological sustainability or should ecological sustainability be maintained and forego the economic benefits. The observation of above dilemma made this study important and urgent.
Recommendation To resolve the above dilemma, this study advocated the adoption of an ethic of communitarian servership so that it would be possible to grow flowers while at the same time uphold ecological sustainability. In that way the study successfully resolved the ethical dilemma of ecological sustainability and economic benefits.
Keywords: benefits, ecological sustainability, ethical dilemma, flower companies
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