Paying for externalities?

Great article here from Chris McDonald’s business ethic blog about companies voluntarily paying for externalities and how this should be interpreted — as hush money or doing the right thing…

The basic idea is, I believe, sound (no pun intended if you have read the article). Paying for externalities imposed on a specified group is the first step in putting a price on the estimated cost imposed (in this case, the perceived social cost of excessive noise from wind turbines) and then administering it through market mechanisms.

What I found interesting here is that it is one of the few examples of companies voluntarily acknowledging their imposed externalities and offering payment for them. While it is clear that the company is trying to “buy peace” (in that in return for payment made, you are not allowed to formally complain/protest about the noise) it is an interesting example that might be classified as “corporate social responsibility” (CSR).

Readers — do you know of other forms of voluntary externality payments being made by corporations?

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