An investigation into the company's social performance in regards to the environment
Through its creative innovations and the pursuance of the new challenges, Samsung electronics has grown to be one of the biggest corporations in the world (Shaughnessy 2018). This has been made possible by the employee's dedication and the support from different stakeholders. The company focuses on developing modern electronics like for instance, mobile phones, Televisions, fridges, microwaves, etc. ("Mobile | TV | Home Appliances" 2018). Samsung Electronics is a global brand, and its primary objective is to maximize the profit which is sometimes diminished due to social responsibilities. The guarantees the company's continuity provided that the company makes the ethical practices to their stakeholders. The main stakeholders in this paper are the local communities where the plant is located and the employees of this company. The process of manufacturing the electronics contributes several hazardous effects to the environment. These include; the e-waste, the noise, and air pollution. The main problem was that there was a lack of commitment to reduce this pollution in the past. Due to stakeholders raise in concern, the company has now introduced new policies and strategies to reduce the environmental impact arising from the plant.
The case against the Samsung Company
Every company is built to create profit, but what was disturbing is that most of these companies were not focusing on environmental sustainability. Recently, companies have been forced to increase their focus in environmental sustainability due to the transparency within the company that has allowed the external stakeholders like the media and non-governmental organizations to exert pressure on these companies, to observe environmental measures and regulations while running their business ("Observing The Earth To Better Understand The Environment | Thales Group" 2018). Even though there has been a major concern on how the e-waste should be dealt with and how the environmental measures should be implemented, Samsung Electronics Company was put in the same light when it was supposed to dispose of the over 2.5 million Samsung galaxy note 7 handsets. The South Korean firm left the environmental experts in a dilemma when it stated that it had no plans of reusing or even refurbishing the phones that were plagued with a battery problem, instead they argued that they have a process that was in place to safely dispose of these gadgets. But according to environmental experts, the intention of Samsung not reusing its valuable components and the chemicals could lead in the direction of the national disaster (Stacy 2016)). According to experts, there have not been proper ways of disposing of these gadgets. They claim that dumping them in the landfills will lead to the contamination of water supplies and the soil. It is in many peoples' interest that electronics should be recycled, but unfortunately, not all components of these gadgets can be recycled. Experts, therefore, advise that; companies should apply the method of fixing and refurbishing which for instance many companies have chosen this way as they can still make money with by selling the same devices (Stacy 2016). The decision by Samsung, therefore, did not mean well to the environment as the 2.5 million gadgets could have an adverse implication on the environment (soil and water.
Another hazardous effect that has affected the stakeholders in the Samsung manufacturing plant is the toxic substances that have been claimed to have affected the young employees. Health expert dealing with the issues that are relating to high-tech electronic workers have come up with a very disturbing story about the Samsung manufacturing plant in South Korea. According to the report, there has been the unusually high incidence of brain cancer, lymphoma, leukemia and other chronic diseases among the young population who have been working with Samsung's chemical-intensive manufacturing plant like the semiconductor manufacturing plant (Grossman 2011). Although direct cause and effects are not easy to prove, the situation in South Korea has presented striking similarities to the observed pertain of illness in other semiconductor plants like for instance in the United States and other places in the past decades (Grossman 2011). To somehow prove this, there are observations that nearly lead to the conclusions of this phenomenon. In 2007, there was a 22-year old woman by the name of Yu-mi Hwang who was diagnosed with leukemia and later she died. This woman was an employee of Samsung's Giheung semiconductor plant as she was still a high school student. A year later it was discovered that another woman (30-year old) who also shared the workstation with Yu-mi also died of leukemia. Another instance occurred in March 2010 where a 23-year old woman named Park Ji-Yeon died from the same disease but this time she was from a different plant of Samsung's On-Yang semiconductor plant since 2004. There was also a sequence of brain tumor that was diagnosed amongst several people who were working in different semiconductor manufacturing plant. In 2005, there was a woman 27-year old; who was diagnosed with was diagnosed with a brain tumor. This woman had worked in a Samsung LCD plant since 1995 and she is now seriously disabled. There was also another woman who had worked with Samsung semiconductor production from the year 1997-2003 who was reportedly diagnosed with brain cancer when she was at the age of 30 in 2010. Over 120 such cases of severe illness among Samsung workers and 46 resulting fatalities have been reported by Korean labor and occupational health activists (Grossman 2011).
Samsung recently admitted that it uses tins to manufacture some of its products. This destroys the tropical forest and therefore killing the coral and wrecking lives of different communities that live in Indonesia ("Samsung Admits Using Forest-Trashing Tin" 2013). This was revealed by the friends of the earth. The act of mining tins in the offshores of Bangka has been followed with divaricating effects to the environment. It has been reported that people who mine offshore by the use of suction ships of bucket dredgers have negatively affected the sea life ("Impacts of Tin Mining" 2018). This mainly because the miners who do this work use suction tubes that suck and that contain tins. The worst part comes when the workers then dump the sand and other materials which are non-valuable like for instance silt and sludge back into the sea. This has so far killed 30 to 60 percent of the mangrove, seagrass, and local coral reefs. And the bad thing about this is that a coral reef takes at least 20 years to manifest itself, this can only happen if the sand was not dumped back on it. The mining on land also has been understood to be having the adverse effect on the environment. The tropical forest islands have reportedly been found to be containing many craters filled with heavy metal and acidic water ("Impacts of Tin Mining" 2018).
The case for the Samsung Company
Samsung has come up with plans to best recycle its devices so as to avoid the excessive e-waste (Hayward 2016). They have positioned themselves as the strong supporter of producer responsibility. They promote the responsible and convenient ways of recycling the e-waste even publicly the requirements that are set to ban the export of the unprocessed waste to the developing counties in line with the e-stewards guidelines and the Samsung policies. The parts and the products that cannot be refurbished are twisted and converted into raw materials that can be used again for the production of a different variety of other new products.
Regarding the health issues, that has been raised by different stakeholders especially the employees. Samsung Electronics Company has raised the funds to invest in an environment, safety infrastructure and health over the next two years. The company has also established an institute that will help in researching the ways the health of its employees will be well improved. Since 2011, Samsung has been paying compensation and medical funding to its former employees in LCD panel and the semiconductor plants suffering from the 14 types of cancer (Mundy 2013).
In respect to the destruction of tropical forest and the coral reefs, Samsung has written to customers to explain how it traced its supply chain back to the mines and also they have committed use its massive influence by working together with the suppliers, the government and the industry bodies so that they can improve the situation on Bangka and other neighboring islands ("Samsung Admits Using Forest-Trashing Tin" 2013).
ConclusionIn the past, Samsung has undergone extreme pressure that came from social groups such as the employees, the local communities and the government on their environmental sustainability. Samsung used to focus on maximizing the profit which was unethical practice but recently the company has changed its focus and environmental sustainability has been given higher priority. Samsung is committed to reducing the e-waste and other environmental implications that are caused in their process of manufacturing. The mistakes that the company might have committed in the past are currently being overshadowed by the positive sustainable attitude driven by the company management. The company can now pride itself on the well-developed corporate social responsibility which has prioritized the sustainability of their manufacturing processes and the near to perfect waste control strategies.
"Environment | Corporate Citizenship | Samsung Electronics | About Us | Samsung". 2018. Samsung. Accessed August 16. https://www.samsung.com/us/aboutsamsung/sustainability/environment/responsible-recycling/principles/.
Grossman, Elizabeth. 2011. "Toxics In The 'Clean Rooms': Are Samsung Workers At Risk?". Yale E360. https://e360.yale.edu/features/toxics_in_the_clean_rooms_are_samsung_workers_at_risk.
Hayward, Andrew. 2016. "How To Sell, Recycle, Or Donate Your Old Android Phone". Greenbot. https://www.greenbot.com/article/2859187/android/got-a-new-android-phone-here'show-to-properly-get-rid-of-your-old-one.html.
"Impacts Of Tin Mining". 2018. Tin Mining In Indonesia. https://11geokatieevans.weebly.com/impacts-of-tin-mining.html.
"Mobile | TV | Home Appliances". 2018. Samsung Africa_En. https://www.samsung.com/africa_en/.
Mundy, Simion. 2013. "Samsung Under Pressure Amid Growing Health Fears | Financial Times". Ft.Com. https://www.ft.com/content/81344d1e-d30e-11e2-aac2-00144feab7de.
"Observing The Earth To Better Understand The Environment | Thales Group". 2018. Thalesgroup.Com. https://www.thalesgroup.com/en/global/corporate-responsibility/hse-health-safety-environment/innovative-solutions-fight-climate-2.
"Samsung Admits Using Forest-Trashing Tin". 2013. Friends Of The Earth Europe. http://www.foeeurope.org/Samsung-admits-forest-trashing-tin-220413.
Shaughnessy, Heydin. 2018. Forbes.Com. https://www.forbes.com/sites/haydnshaughnessy/2013/03/07/why-is-samsung-such-an-innovative-company/#748690082ad7.
Stacy. 2016. "Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Recall An Environmental Disaster, Experts Warn". Mail Online. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3837205/Samsung-risking-environmental-disaster-dumping-Galaxy-Note-7-handsets-experts-warn.html.
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