You are on page 1of 2


The Bhopal gas tragedy is a catostrophic accident in 20th century. In 1969 the Bhopal
facility was part of Indias Green Revolution aimed to increase the productivity of UCC
(Union Carbide Company) to set up a small plant (Union Carbide India Ltd-UCIL) in Bhopal,
capital city of Pradesh to formulate, import, mix and package pestisides manufactured in the
United States. UCIL choose to store and produce methyl isocyanate (MIC), one of the most
deadly chemicals ever invented in the chemical history
. production unit was installed,
primarily to manufacture an effective and inexpensive pesticide called Sevin. MIC is
produced by the reaction of (mono)methylamine with phosgene. India as developing country
are particularly vulnerable as they often lack of infrastructure to support and maintain new
technologies safely. Economically, developing countries offer multinational corporations a
competitive advantage, companies based in developing countries offer cheap labor and low
operating cists, but little incentive to promote environmental ethics, safety procedures and
community investment.

Carrolls (2000) give four-part definition of CSR, and related each part to one of three
types of CSR that I conceptualized companies practicing (see Figure 1 for definitions of and
comparisons between the types of CSR according to Carroll and Author Disguised).
Carrolls economic responsibilities include being profitable for shareholders while providing
economic benefits to other corporate stakeholders, such as fair-paying jobs for employees and
good quality, fairly-priced products for customers. Legal responsibilities involve conducting
business legally. Ethical responsibilities go beyond the law by avoiding harm or social
injury; respecting peoples moral rights; and doing what is right, just, fair (Smith and Quelch,
1993), and caring. Philanthropic responsibilities entail giving back time and money in the
forms of voluntary financial giving and service.
4.1 Moral Responsibility of Multinational Corporation
According to some observers, UCIL (and UCC) showed denial and disregards for the
victims, prolonging their suffering through failing to deal with their immediate needs. When
the MIC was released, the company insisted there was no leak, despite evidence to prove
otherwise and the public alarm was not sounded until hours later. UCIL provided misleading
information on treatment for the toxic effects of MIC, resulting primarily in inadequate
treatment by local physicians. UCC tried to blame local workers for sabotaging the plant and
conducted a media blitz to divert attention from the corporation. UCC never publicly
accepted liability for the Bhopal catastrophe. Their strategy for negotiations focused on a
fixed settlement that would allow them to walk away from Bhopal and its victims.
4.2 Moral Responsibility of the Governments of Industrialized Nations
Currently, international law does not involve itself in industrial hazards, pollution or
regulating multinational corporations in general. UCC fought hard to ensure the legal battle
took place in India and lawsuits filed in the U.S. courts were rejected on the basis that the
catastrophe occurred in the plant in India, the victims were Indian and UCIL was a subsidiary
company of Union Carbide.
4.3 Moral Responsibility of the Governments of Developing Countries
In 1985, the Indian government passed the Bhopal Gas Leak Disaster Act, which
made the Indian government the sole representative of all claimants. This also gave them the
power to appoint a welfare commissioner and other staff who would control the distribution
of compensation. Later, using this act, the Bhopal Gas Leak Disaster Scheme emerged, which
further controlled registration, processing and future compensation.
Union Carbide eventually settled out of court for $470 million which left thousand of
people dead and ijured which worked out to around Rs 10.000 per victim, thereby denying
any legal liability. To reciprocate, the Indian Supreme Court provided immunity from any
future prosecution. Their official reasoning for accepting this offer centered on providing
relief as quickly as possible for the victims, who had been waiting for compensation for over
seven years. Critics of the government have commented that the officials further delayed in
making reparations after the settlement had been resolved.
Literature :
1. Dutta, S. The Bhopal Gas Tragedy.2002.ICMR. Available online at
(accesed at 10 February 2014)
2. Carroll, A.B. (2000), The Four Faces Of Corporate Citizenship in Business Ethics
00/01, Richardson, J.E.