Can MNCs be held morally responsible for the unintended consequences of their operations?

  • Willem Fourie Department of Dogmatics and Christian Ethics, Faculty of Theology, University of Pretoria
Keywords: Collective responsibility, multinational corporations, responsibility


There seems to be popular consensus that multinational corporations (MNCs) should take responsibility for both the intended and unintended consequences of their operations. However, within the discipline of ethics, reflection on the responsibilities of MNCs continues to be highly controversial. In this article, we reflect on one of the more contentious issues in this debate, namely, the moral responsibility of MNCs for the unintended consequences of their operations. It is argued that at least two questions need to be addressed, namely, whether or not MNCs can be held morally responsible for anything and – should this be the case – what it actually means to hold the MNCs responsible. 


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