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International law, environment and multinational enterprises (MNEs) - Essay Example

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This paper examines the local and international requirements of MNEs in environmental matters, analyses the human rights requirements of MNEs and how this is carried out, evaluates cases that demonstrate the way MNEs operate in environmental and human rights matters in foreign countries…
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International law, environment and multinational enterprises (MNEs)
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Download file to see previous pages Responsibilities of MNEs
Multinational Enterprises (MNEs) are “enterprises which own or control value-added services in two or more countries” (Jones & Dunning, 1997). In other words, a multinational enterprise controls components of its organizational structures across two or more nations. This implies that such an organization will have to adhere to two or more legal jurisdictions.
In this sense, a multinational can be viewed from the point of dealing in two countries, the home country and the host country (Morschett et al, 2010). Thus, every multinational will have to set its global standards from the perspective and requirements of the home country. This becomes the basic system of standards that it will adhere to in its drive to expand into other nations and territories.
When it expands to other nations, it will have to also become sensitive to the local requirements and adhere to it. This brings up the issue of internationalisation versus nationalisation. An MNE will have to examine the right blend it will undertake in order to honour the legal and ethical requirements of a given nation. Will it have to adhere to the standards of the home country or the host country? Living by home country standards can mean loss of opportunities and potentially offending local partners. Adhering to host country standards could also lead to international condemnation and serious reputational issues if they are revealed in the home country thereby presenting the company as hypocritical. This inherent issue with MNEs are materialised strongly in environmental and human rights issues. These two major issues come with a room for potential conflict in deciding whether to internationalise or nationalise. How should a US or British firm operate in a nation where human rights are not respected? How should a European firm set its environmental reporting standards in a nation where those standards are seen as a sheer waste of money? All these are dilemmas that need to be handled in the expansion bid of an MNE. As identified in the introduction, the presence of international laws makes some of these things much easier to handle. Without them, there will be serious variances in the way MNEs behave and this will lead to double standards and serious implications for poorer countries and countries with lower human rights and environmental standards. Environmental Footprints Environmental footprint refers to the effects of an organisation's operations on the natural environment (Mares, 2007). The environmental footprints refers to the resultant effect of an business' operations on the natural environment. It involves the residual and sometimes unintended degradation of the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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