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IN this age where greening our planet is a core issue and concern pursued by progressive nations, caring for the environment is no more just the business of governments and local authorities. It has to be championed by businesses right up to sidewalk retailers.

If you visit Thailand, there is a feature that will get you to compare and assess social ethics in our country.

Whether it is bustling Bangkok or a remote township, you will notice every business, be it a multi-storey facade or a shoplot, has potted plants and water features outside its premises.

In Malaysia, we leave it to the authorities.

Local government and municipalities are tasked with planting trees and hedges to green our landscape.

But what we also do is nail every tree with advertising boards ranging from “lori sewa” to sex toys and “pinjaman wang”.

And where there are potted plants and shrubs, and some with water features in front of business premises or shoplots, we dump trash.

The sides of buildings in Kuala Lumpur are littered with rubbish, including empty mineral water bottles and torn styrofoam packs.

Is our society bankrupt of ethics? Why can’t we care for the environment?

Even our homes reflect how little we care about making the planet more hospitable.

And if you ask around, do not be surprised to get the standard retort, “Where got time to take care of plants?”

Some will say, “Aiyah, all the dried leaves dirty my compound-lah.”

Until and unless people plant and care for the environment, we will continue to destroy it.

The ethics of doing business demand social ethics.

Every citizen must contribute to greening the planet and it starts with our own backyard before we start to save our forests.

J.D. Lovrenciear, Business Ethics Institute of Malaysia Puchong, Selangor

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