The case explains the events that led to the closure of the Sterlite Copper (Sterlite) plant in Thoothukudi in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Massive protests by anti-Sterlite activists against the alleged environmental hazards caused by the Sterlite plant culminated in the death of ten people in police firing and eventually led to the Tamil Nadu state government shutting down the Sterlite plant. The case highlights the flouting of environmental rules and regulations by Sterlite. The impact of the environmental pollution caused by the Sterlite plant on air, water, and land is explained with the help of various reports and studies conducted by environmental agencies. The views and opinions of the general public, industry observers, business analysts, and environmental agencies are presented in the case. The case also points out to the fact that Sterlite was contributing to the development of the area by generating employment opportunities and providing a livelihood to thousands of people. Sterlite was catering to 36 percent of the domestic copper requirements of the country. There were scores of local and allied industries dependent on the copper produced by Sterlite. The impact of the closure of the plant on the development of the area and the allied industries is also discussed.
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The case is structured to achieve the following teaching objectives:
Understand the concept of ‘Business Ethics’ in an organization..
Understand the importance of ‘Environmental Ethics’ in an organization.
Understand the importance of stakeholder management in business.
Understand the different approaches of moral responsibility towards environment
Understand how development and environmental protection are interrelated and interdependent in a society.