MNE’s based in the United States, whose present safety norms are supported by Washington, continues to put pressure on the EU to loosen up its standards. In Washington, MNEs wielding insider connections and an abundance of campaign funds are used to wooing legislators and regulators. (Vernon, 2010, p.B04) But this tactic does not work in Europe, reflecting a basic difference in the way commerce and public safety are perceived in the two regions. For example,
“Over the last few years, the European Union has put into effect a raft of far-reaching environmental and consumer-protection legislation that would be unimaginable in Washington: a moratorium on genetically modified foods; another on beef treated with growth hormone; a requirement that automakers and electronics manufacturers pick up the tab for disposing of their products in environmentally friendly ways; and a ban on the use of such common electronics manufacturing materials as mercury, lead and brominated flame retardants. It also recently upheld a prohibition on pharmaceutical company advertising and is debating whether to prohibit television commercials directed toward children.” (Shamir, 2004, p.635)
Since the United States is home to major MNEs in the world and since its complete access to the EU market is only a matter of time, it makes good sense to make its corporations comply with EU regulations. In the case of the United Kingdom too, which upholds the common environmental preservation ethos of the European Union, there are a few instances of corporate indiscretion. That is, despite an elevated set of regulations to abide by, some businesses do ignore green credentials of their suppliers against government expectations. Take say the area of West Midland. A research by BT Business “could not find a single small business in the region that took the environmental values of suppliers into account, even though one in five said customers asked them about it”. (Scotney, 2008, p.22)
Hence, in conclusion, and on balance, it is better to have comprehensive environmental regulations and strict punitive measures, as opposed to allowing MNE’s freedom in the hope that they self-regulate. Although some companies have successfully implemented green policies, most others operate purely on the profit-motive, putting the future of the planet at dire risk.
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