On the moral responsibility of oil and gas companies for environmental damage
Hove, J.E. van
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This thesis investigates whether an oil and gas company (OGC) can be morally responsible for environmental damage. Therefore, a majority of my thesis is focused on determining the capacity of OGC to be morally responsible. I appeal to the debate of collective moral responsibility and corporate moral responsibility to conclude that an alternative notion of collective moral responsibility is warranted. To determine this capacity, a ‘causal condition’ and a ‘moral condition’ are needed. The causal condition consists of two elements: the ‘ineliminable role’ and the ‘coordinated control’. For the moral condition I construct what I will call the ‘unity’. This unity consists of three elements, namely the ‘corporate moral awareness’, the ‘role-responsibility’ and the ‘coordinated control’. I argue that it is the interaction of these elements, with the role-responsibility as interplay that constructs the moral condition for corporations to be morally responsible. Finally, in order to argue that an OGC can be morally responsible for environmental damage, a moral argument is needed. I argue, that this moral argument can be found in the principle of nonmaleficence. As by means of the unity, a corporation is obliged to adhere to this principle.