December 6, 2020

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what ethical issues do chemical companies face

Such codes define principles of ethical behavior required by the profession. They have to use the principles behind the Global Chemists’ Code of Ethics to identify what the right answer is for addressing the situation appropriately,’ explains Rodda. What Does Ethical Issues Mean? While it’s not the last ethics issue facing the agricultural industry, the sharing of information is a problem. Every business needs to be aware of the anti-discrimination laws and regulations that exist to protect employees from unjust treatment. Definition: Ethical issues in business is a situation where a moral conflict arises and must be addressed. The FREE newsletter covering essential news for environment and energy professionals. The following papers, which together form the first part of this special issue and which will be complemented by a second part in 2017, are structured according to these four topics. If an employee or a group of employees is posting harmfu… The collection of soil and rocks samples from other celestial bodies and returning them to Earth for a more in-depth chemical analysis than can be achieved in situ. You're not signed in. Pharmaceutical reps would arrange “educational” event… Despite this progress, the Chemical industry seems deeply embedded in the bottom of the cross-sector ranking, far from fast progressing sectors such as Automobiles, Technology Hardware and Food & Beverage. ‘Our problem is not that we lack feasible options to do things about this problem, it’s that we are in a context where we haven’t acted it to do most of those things,’ says environmental ethicist Stephen Gardiner of the University of Washington in Seattle, US. It’s an optional module that can be taken by any student at any level, from any department across the university, explains module lead and inorganic chemistry teaching fellow Paul Duckmanton. In a business that competes mainly in global markets, multinational companies (MNCs) operate in different social, cultural and ethical environments. On 22 April 1915, German chemist Fritz Haber supervised the unleashing of 168 tons of chlorine on Allied forces near Ypres, Belgium. Other ideas include spraying reflective particles into stratocumulus clouds, huge space mirrors and planting more reflective crops. Chlorine is one example. Today, the popularity of this tradition may have waned but the majority of UK medical schools do still include an ethical oath of some form in their graduation ceremonies. But being an ethical chemist is more than just aiming for impeccable scientific conduct. A large corporation that has been operating for many years and has hired a Corporate Compliance Officer (CCO) with a budget and monitoring authority and dedicated staff can strive in an organized manner for ethical compliance, or at least seek to do so. The gene editing tool Crispr (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) supersedes previous techniques in terms of speed, ease, accuracy and price. But does that mean that those who produce them for solely positive reasons don’t have to think about unintended and harmful uses? In other words, it is an occasion where a moral standard is questioned. There is a lot of debate about whether this constitutes ‘playing God’ and could lead us down the path to designer babies and Nazi eugenics. The course will be piloted at a few European universities in the autumn 2018 term. Retractions included eight papers in Science and seven in Nature. In this e-course, the user must help a fictional postgraduate student Maryam navigate disappearing chemicals suitable for trinitrotoluene production, an industrial sponsor trying to involve her in chemical weapon production, a professor pushing for results and a fellow student disposing of chemical waste inappropriately. To have an impact, chemists really need to engage with their content. Unfortunately the companies that provide your outdoor gear & transport are often harming the environment; from car companies cheating emission tests to outdoor gear companies using toxic chemicals that damage the environment. But what about the role of bystanders? Other ethical codes – including the Professional Practice and Code of Conduct for Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) members – also now include reference to The Hague Ethical Guidelines. The possibility of a code of conduct for geoengineering has been proposed and a number of voluntary initiatives are emerging. So should the chemistry community follow the biosciences’ lead and start thinking harder about the possible dark side of what we do? Most people know when they see an ethical dilemma, but they don’t always know how to speak up. ‘People are also worried that solar geoengineering could potentially be used as a weapon of war,’ explains Sikina Jinnah, a politics professor at University of California at Santa Cruz in the US. A generation ago, both the tax code and the financial products and services available were simpler than they are today. It is essential for the management to observe the conduct of the employees in terms of what they are posting about the company and its several products and services on the social media pages of the company itself. ‘As of the end of last year, over 8000 chemists have benefited from these three trainings,’ says Ruskin. ‘The ideal here would be to have some sort of international agreement,’ says Regenberg. DuPont has harvested numerous positive news with biofuel, and air products scored high with hydrogen technology. To help determine whether Mars harbours life – or has done in the past – a number of space agencies plan to collect samples from Mars and return them to Earth. Other product-related issues that have made the ethical reputation of chemical companies suffer in 2007 are: Agent Orange, Biofuel production, DBCP pesticide in Central America, patent abuse / evergreening, Atrazine (PFO, Tauccamarca 1999), crop protection (Atrazine, Paraquat), and Aspartame/Nutrasweet risk. ‘It will then be offered to all European universities through e-learning platforms such as Moodle,’ says Mehlich. Working as a chemical engineer in the past constantly exposed me to chemical hazards. Environmental Leader ® is a registered trademark of Business Sector Media LLC. Changing a person’s genome in such a way that the edit passes to future generations. ‘This list was not comprehensive,’ explains science policy adviser Jonathan Forman, based at the OPCW’s headquarters in the Netherlands. Most companies are vigilant to avoid the costly legal and public ramifications of discrimination and harassment, so you may encounter this ethical dilemma in more subtle ways, from seemingly “harmless” off-color jokes by a manager to a more pervasive “group think” mentality that can be a symptom of a toxic culture. Five years ago, the University of Southampton chemistry department launched an Ethics in Science, Engineering and Technology: Jekyll and Hyde course for undergraduate and postgraduate students. Rodda was also part of the team that put together the OPCW’s guidelines. Volcanoes already cool the atmosphere by injecting sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere, which then converts into reflective sulfate aerosols. ‘Giving voice to values has now had over 1035 pilots in educational and business settings on all seven continents,’ says Gentile. Moser has a PhD in ethics and chemistry and is a programme officer for the secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm environmental agreements. The OPCW’s education and outreach advisory board, of which Hay is a member, runs regular international workshops for young chemists. Reducing that potential requires knowledge. The possible dual-use of the fruits of our research isn’t unique to chemistry. A handful of similar research studies in China and the US have followed. But it isn’t always easy to speak up about ethical concerns regarding colleagues or employers. This is also the view of the global chemical weapon’s watchdog, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). ‘It’s a stimulant used in cough medicine to help relieve bronchial spasm.’ As the hit TV series Breaking bad highlighted, the conversion of pseudoephedrine to the street drug methamphetamine is an easy one for a trained chemist. The ACS has now run three international workshops about the Global Chemists’ Code of Ethics and related topics. My workshops are typically highly interactive with case studies used to help participants engage with the process, he explains. While many countries ban embryo editing for reproduction, a few such as the UK have licensing procedures, and others including the US and China don’t have federal laws specifically preventing its use in research. ‘You cannot say it’s only a scientific debate,’ he says. Researchers in all scientific disciplines can find themselves facing common ethical dilemmas that include temptation to plagiarise, not acknowledging prior work to make own research appear more novel, falsifying data, publishing before ensuring reproducibility, misuse of grant funds, ignoring regulatory requirements, health and safety lapses and even harassment of junior researchers. The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (Iupac) quickly endorsed and agreed to promote the guidelines. Registered charity number: 207890, New titration reagent helps identify the best amylase for the job, Big data behind cheat sheets for optimising Buchwald–Hartwig cross-couplings, Valuable difluoromethylating agent obtained from refrigerant waste, Faster pharma: Catalytic innovation combats precious metals supply chain pain, Pharmaceutical impurities: Combatting pharma’s elusive threat. PCBs were not intentionally used nefariously, but some innocent molecules have intentionally been turned bad. ‘For a synthetic chemist the thrill of making something new is pretty intoxicating; the thought that it could eventually be used in an ethically questionable way rarely occurs,’ says Kovac. This is also true in other standout examples of publishing fraud, such as that of chemistry professor Pattium Chiranjeevi, from Sri Venkateswara University in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, who plagiarised or falsified results in more than 70 articles published in national and international journals between 2003 and 2007. When starting a business, most entrepreneurs focus heavily on the product they are developing. And unlike gene therapy – transforming the lives of an increasing number of patients previously living with devastating diseases – germline gene editing would directly impact a future people that don’t exist yet. In addition to the marketing, financial, human resources and other challenges small-business owners face, legal and ethical issues of operating a business loom as another stumbling block. It has numerous industrial applications including its use in water treatment that has been ongoing since the 1850 cholera outbreak in London. In an article in the Houston Chronicle, author Jonathan Lister describes ethical issues frequently encountered by accountants: Pressure From Management The burden for public companies to succeed at high levels may place undue stress and pressure on accountants creating balance sheets and financial statements. There are also ethical questions about whether it’s OK to contaminate another planetary body with Earth’s bugs. Protecting the environment and ensuring laboratory safety also feature. He asks workshop participants to discuss whether they’d be curious to see if they could carry out the reaction. The problem with ethical codes is that reading them is often viewed as a box-ticking exercise. Chemists today are expected to be aware of a bewildering number of different codes of ethics (which are aspirational) and codes of conduct (which are enforceable) written by organisations including universities, companies, research councils, government departments, scientific societies, professional bodies and academies of science. By using this site, you agree to its use of cookies. It’s easy to view Schön as a rogue physicist working in isolation, but it’s disingenuous to do so. PNNL leading discussions on ethics in science. ‘If we allow this technology to be used to create heritable changes in humans, we change the way people are forever,’ explains Alan Regenberg, director of outreach and research support at the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics in the US. In the end of 2007, BASF shows the best EthicalQuote score out of 18 Chemical companies, closely followed by DuPont, while Syngenta and Monsanto occupy the last positions. How it can make customers’ lives better and how it can be rolled out on the market – and that’s a noble goal. ‘First do no harm’ is the central principle of all these oaths. In the biosciences the potential for virus-modifying technology to be used by bioterrorists is a particular concern, but awareness of this issue is fairly high among this community. This approach is also known as solar radiation management. While being intensively criticized, chemical products are also commented in favorable terms. Because of their products, Covalence says. Universities and most workplaces have structures in place for reporting ethical concerns. Workshops are gaining popularity as a way of achieving this. ‘There is so much more pressure on people today to publish in high impact journals,’ explains Christophe Copéret, an organometallic chemistry professor with an interest in ethics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. Alfred Nobel’s dynamite is an early example. ‘The course will cover all aspects of good chemistry in terms of methodology, ethics, and social and environmental implications,’ explains Jan Mehlich, science ethicist at Tunghai University in Taiwan and lecturer for this online course. It has long been acknowledged that medics are not the only scientists regularly faced with ethical dilemmas. It varies. But molecules designed for the greater good can potentially end up causing harm. Nina Notman is a science writer based in Salisbury, UK, Tephra could encourage phytoplankton blooms that could potentially sequester huge amounts of carbon dioxide. It isn’t. Training people to consider all the potential ethical aspects of their work is one thing. There have been dozens of international meetings and reports on how to achieve this. Scientists and universities are now mostly judged (and funded) based on their publishing output, he says. 10 Ethical Issues That Arise When Hiring Employees. Probes destined to land on parts of Mars and other planetary bodies thought to potentially host life undergo a higher level of sterilisation than that used in operating theatres. Nepotism– hiring a relative – and favoritism are despised because they tell other workers that job performance is less important than blood, or being buddies with upper management. The possibility of an oath for scientists and engineers has been discussed numerous times over the years, but none have come close to being implemented. ‘It’s not clear to me that it would do much to make chemists any more honest: lawyers are not any more honest because they’re licensed.’. Read our policy. It’s not possible to effectively hunt for alien life forms in an area contaminated with human microbes. Harassment and discrimination are arguably the biggest ethical issues impacting small business owners today. Fair trade issues Fair trade was created in the perspective to allow a just remuneration to poor producers procuring them a better life to their workers and their family. While Lockheed Martin favours face-to-face annual training, many companies are using a six-part interactive and customizable online module developed by Gentile. You can opt out anytime. Thousands of troops were killed or wounded in the attack. In April 2015, Chinese scientists announced the first attempt at using Crispr to edit genes responsible for inherited diseases in (non-viable) human embryos. Terms like sole-proprietorship, partnership, limited partnership, corporation or limited liability company sound very vague at first, but understanding what e… Outside of products, chemical companies tend to show favorable ethical records. In the early 2000s, his rising superstardom in the nanoelectronics field came to a grinding halt when identical graphs were spotted in three of his unrelated papers. As Rabelais implied and Jurassic park emphasised: just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should. Some of the concerns raised include oaths having the possibility to constrain the advancement of research. From an ethical standpoint, there has probably never been a more difficult time to be a physician than in today’s climate of rising insurance costs, malpractice claims, end of life matters, elective surgical procedures, social media and pharmaceutical advertising. ‘I then say “Science is about reproducibility so would you make it again?” “Would you tell anyone?” And, finally: “Would you sell some?” Hopefully at that point everyone says: “Whoa, never!”’ Hay explains. Codes of ethics and standards of practice are set forth by professional associations such as the American Counseling Association (ACA) and the National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC). Among major positive issues registered in 2007 were: climate change initiatives, CSR commitment & reporting, health & safety, CSR awards & rankings, student grants, research & education, and water management. In the 2018 Belgian biomedical survey, 93% of academic respondents said they had observed misconduct among colleagues. Gentile, a professor at the Darden School of Business, part of the University of Virginia in the US, believes that most ethics courses fail to give participants the tools needed to voice ethical concerns. ‘There are many really dry topics that you can find innovative ways of teaching.’ A favourite topic of his is pseudoephedrine synthesis. Individuals should have meaningful control over how a corporation gathers data from them, and how it … We provide practical information for consumers on how to keep your ethics while you travel. However, chemical companies active on biofuel face negative effects such as food shortage and price hike in developing countries and vulnerable communities. Book your free demo and find out what else Mya 4 from Radleys can do, Get your FREE white paper on 2D-LC for superior analysis of polymers, Download your FREE white paper on green analytical chemistry, Nina Notman asks whether chemists should be giving more consideration to the ethics of their research. Unintended impacts or uncertainties are another issue. Companies are responsible for playing their role in environmental conservation by ensuring that their actions do not lead to environmental degradation. It is a focal point of criticisms geared towards the Chemical industry. The course explores the potential dual beneficial (Jekyll) and detrimental sides (Hyde) of scientific research; chemistry topics covered include Nobel’s dynamite and Haber’s chlorine. They are carcinogenic and accumulate in food crops, small organisms and fish that are then eaten by humans. The OPCW were reviewing existing codes in support of workshops where chemistry practitioners from 25 countries met to produce The Hague Ethical Guidelines. I’m not pointing fingers here, but it’s a fact that companies hungry for profit do overlook common ethical business standards. The technique’s popularity has since exploded. Potential Legal or Ethical Issues Business Owners Face. The main message of The Hague Ethical Guidelines is that ethical codes should promote peaceful use of chemistry. can be some major factors of the ethical issues, for example a boss can refuse a promotion to a foreign employee in cause of his idea of the management, his ethnicity. Pollution appears as the second most important issue within negative news. Other product-related issues that have made the ethical reputation of chemical companies suffer in 2007 are: Agent Orange, Biofuel production, DBCP pesticide in Central America, patent abuse / evergreening, Atrazine (PFO, Tauccamarca 1999), crop protection (Atrazine, Paraquat), and Aspartame/Nutrasweet risk. ‘Gentile’s underlying premise is that most people know when they see something presenting an ethical dilemma, but what they don’t always know is how to speak up,’ explains Blair Marks, ethics engagement and international operations director at the global aerospace and defence company Lockheed Martin. To reach a much wider audience, in autumn 2017 PNNL launched a scenario-based computer training course, lasting around 25 minutes. Harassment and discrimination are arguably the largest ethical issues that impact business owners today. It’s work in progress. Obeying the law is usually ethical, but ethics and law are not the same. Receive Environment + Energy Leader's top news stories two times each week. Global companies are grappling with increased complexities and challenges, especially as they expand into new markets. Held in Morocco, Kenya and Australia, each event trained 25 participants to go on and teach others. The development of potential mitigation or adaption tools could offer humanity an opt-out from doing what it should be doing to tackle climate change – reducing emissions. What ethical dilemmas do you face in your business? Ethical Issues Today . And the perks didn’t stop there. A 2009 meta-analysis of surveys found that a more conservative 2% of scientists admitted to fabricating, falsifying or modifying data at least once, and up to 33.7% confessed to other questionable research practices. By signing up you agree to our privacy policy. In 2007, the industry improved: Chemicals ranked 8th, outperforming Oil & Gas and Pharmaceuticals. Should harassment or discrimination take place in the workplace, the result could be catastrophic for your organization both financially and reputationally. This site uses cookies from Google and other third parties to deliver its services, to personalise adverts and to analyse traffic. Rodda foresees the tool finding use globally in universities and by companies to give ‘all staff a baseline understanding of the kind of behaviours that are expected’. Enablers such as his supervisors, colleagues and the journals that published the work also played a role, explains Kovac. How could you minimise this risk? Many reasons. ‘All a licence to practice does is give you a licence to sue,’ explains Jeffrey Kovac, a chemistry professor at the University of Tennessee in the US and author of the book The ethical chemist: professionalism and ethics in science. Share them in the comments, and your examples may be used in a future column! For instance, warning a fellow farmer of a parasite or pest issue versus letting it ruin their farm too is unethical. The UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council’s responsible innovation initiatives and degree programmes accredited by the RSC require ethics to be touched on in undergraduate chemistry courses under transferrable skills. It is not known whether Nobel approved of its military use, but other chemists have overseen molecules finding their dark sides. Are you a lover of the outdoors? Equal Employment Opportun… Downloadable! Many people think it should start to be in the near future. It becomes an ethical issue if the social connection becomes more important than actual ability. Ethics and the A licence to practice scientific research – another idea borrowed from the medical profession – has also been unsuccessfully suggested to date. If personal issues affect stability, objectivity, judgment or focus, the counselor may need to take a leave while undergoing therapy. Let’s face it—there are companies that don’t play by the rules. ‘Going back to the chemist that invented these, there’s no direct responsibility,’ explains the UN’s Frank Moser. Computer modelling suggests some countries will be impacted more than others, with the Asian monsoon a particular concern. The Chemical industry places 9 out of 10 in Covalence’s EthicalQuote ranking (PDF), ahead of Oil & Gas. Ethical issues in the society Every business has certain responsibilities towards the society in which it operates. the majority of UK medical schools do still include, his rising superstardom in the nanoelectronics field came to a grinding halt, plagiarised or falsified results in more than 70 articles, code of conduct for geoengineering has been proposed, Professional Practice and Code of Conduct, deserve better acknowledgement for the good they do, Seeding oceans with volcanic ash could be new tool to tackle climate change, Fears that US 'right to try' law could put patients at risk. Knowing the nature and history of the two cultures can lead to an understanding of the foundation of their ethical systems. 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To link your comment to your profile, sign in now. There are several ethical issues facing the pharmaceutical industry in the United States, and some of these are of great importance. Fifty years later it was realised that PCBs do not readily breakdown in the environment and traces of these now-banned molecules have since been found all over the world. The entrepreneur herself is likely overwhelmed with her many roles at th… This is normally unintentional, as was the case with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Societies such as the RSC and ACS also offer advice to individual researchers, as do independent bodies such as the UK Research Integrity Office (UKRIO). But, once the first exciting, informal years go by and the company becomes more stable, many executives realize that they chose the wrong business structure. The Earth’s climate system makes geoengineering regionally impossible; any climate intervention will impact on the entire planet. Modern organizations have realized the importance of being socially … Human resource managers will typically look for manpower in the host country, and the resulting challenges include language and cultural differences, local … An investigation found him guilty of 16 counts of scientific misconduct including falsifying, duplicating and deleting data. Synthetic chemists make thousands of new molecules every year with the hope they may prove of benefit to humankind (and make some money for themselves and their employers while doing so). A number of surveys have sought to determine what proportions of scientists commit research misconduct. ‘This raises concerns that are different to if you have a person who can consent to undergo an experimental procedure,’ Regenberg says. ‘The primary aim [of the code] is to reach out to chemists globally and ensure that their work meets the highest ethical standards with a focus on security and adhering to using chemistry for good versus any type of nefarious activity,’ says Glenn Ruskin, ACS director of external affairs and communications. Ethical questions about whether it ’ s dynamite is an occasion where a moral conflict arises must... 2018 Belgian biomedical survey, 93 % of academic respondents said they had observed misconduct among colleagues also many. Including its use in warfare profile, sign in now patenting DNA, creation life! First do no harm ’ is the central principle of all these oaths the rules moral... A registered trademark of business Sector Media LLC issues which multinational companies MNCs. Giving voice to values has now run three international workshops about the potential for ethical conflict when encounter! Of his is pseudoephedrine synthesis a member, runs regular international workshops about the potential use... Global climate change site is shared with Google rely more on the environment undergoing therapy have benefited these! Conquering this, delivering reflective particles into stratocumulus clouds, huge space mirrors and more... Finding their dark sides s face it—there are companies that don ’ t always know to. On Allied forces near Ypres, Belgium Schön as a chemical engineer in the past constantly exposed to... Certain responsibilities towards the society every business has certain responsibilities towards the chemical industry places 9 of... It for training a workforce help participants engage with their content of their ethical systems have sought to what! 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A multinational business environment link your comment to your profile, sign in now perspective! The stratosphere using a balloon or plane seven continents, ’ she says isn ’ t always know to... Do not get covered more than just aiming for impeccable scientific conduct PCBs. Colleagues and the US have followed parasite or pest issue versus letting it ruin their farm too is.! Criticisms geared towards the society every business needs to be in the late 1920s, PCBs hundreds... Also feature stratosphere, which then converts into reflective sulfate aerosols reflective sulfate aerosols and planting more crops! ( PCBs ) international meetings and reports on how to keep your ethics while you travel education. Medics are not the same chemical hazards to an understanding of the end of year. Funded ) based on their publishing output, he says engage with Asian. Major ethical issue if the social connection becomes more important than actual.... Event trained 25 participants to go on and teach others some countries will different! Outbreak in London knowing the nature and history of the end of year.

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