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Sustainable Business Essay


Las Vegas – the very name quickly conjures up visions of glamour, fortunes won and lost, and a paradise where anything seems possible for someone with a dollar and a dream.  However, the underside of gleaming veneer of this gem in the desert reveals that the massive casinos and hotels of Las Vegas, in their efforts to keep their desert oasis cool and comfortable for tourists, golf courses green and lush and bright lights shining, have utilized resources that are apparently far from eco-friendly (Gibson).

In response to criticisms about these actions, arguments have been put forth that this is merely an effort to fulfill customer demand, and countered by environmental authorities like John Elkington, who is fighting for environmental accountability for businesses (Elkington).  With both sides of the issue in mind, this research will explore whether or not a highly profitable business like a Las Vegas casino can merely admit to its environmental sins and not be held accountable, as well as where regulation should originate from and whether or not people in general should be environmentally conscious.

Disclosure, Accountability and Regulation

As this research began, the apparent facts about the environmental violations of massive business entities like the casinos of Las Vegas were discussed, as well as the reality that these organizations often openly confess to damaging the environment, bringing about the question of whether candor in this case should equal immunity from punishment.  Simply put, the answer to this question is resoundingly to the negative.

If disclosure is allowed to substitute for accountability, the floodgates will be opened for any organization-be it a casino or a chemical refinery-to merely notify the public that they are polluting the environment and do so unabated.  In the present day, with the massive boom in population and the need to support that population from the resources of the planet, to destroy those resources is to trade all of the earth’s tomorrows for a short-term benefit in the present day (Gibson).

Regulation of businesses in their environmental impact should indeed occur on a societal level, for this is an issue which literally holds the lives of all men, women and children in the balance.  As good citizens, people should stand up and demand that companies not only acknowledge their environmental violations, but to make the necessary changes to stop the damage they are causing and encourage other companies to do the same.  This is not only an issue of moral benefit, but financial benefit as well.

Strong evidence suggests that the investments that companies make in environmental protections not only save the companies money in terms of lower operating costs and less waste of resources, but also will reap countless additional profit in the form of increased business due to an enhanced public image (Fields).  The bottom line for business and individuals is that both should become more environmentally conscious for ethical, societal and financial reasons.


If nothing else, this research has shown not only that it is necessary for companies to be held accountable for their environmental infractions, but also that this accountability will reap endless benefits from many different points of view.  Therefore, the challenge is extended for businesses to do the right thing before it is too late, not only for them, but also for the people to whom they look for profitability, longevity, and acceptance.  Then, and only then, will a suitable change in environmental business ethics take place.

Works Cited

Elkington, John. “The Phoenix Economy: A New Paradigm for Sustainable Business.” (2009, March 29). Retrieved June 25, 2009 from the World Wide Web: http://www.circleofblue.org/waternews/2009/world/europe/hold-john-elkington-the-phoenix-economy-a-new-paradigm-for-sustainable-business/

Fields, Scott. “Sustainable Business Makes Dollars & Sense.” Environmental Health Perspectives

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110.3 (2002): 142+.

Gibson, Kevin (2005). “Business Ethics: People, Profits and the Planet”: Sixth Edition.  New York: McGraw-Hill.

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