Former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s new book, “Stress Test,” discusses the financial crisis of 2007-8 and Geithner’s supervision of the banking giant Citigroup.
Major U.S. retail chains like Target and K-Mart are being criticized by some consumer groups for opening on Thanksgiving Day. Columnist Gael O’Brien finds she agrees with the critics. In the rush for short-term profits, she says, companies are “losing capital” with their employees and damaging their reputations as responsible corporate citizens.
Two leading consultants say companies must create lower risk environments for fraud. To do so, they argue, organizations first must understand their own corporate ecology — the interrelations between people and their workplace — and tailor controls to the nature of those systems.
A special examiner hired – and fired – by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York recorded about 46 hours of meetings and conversations with her colleagues. Many of these events document key moments leading to her firing. But they also offer an intimate study of the New York Fed’s culture at a pivotal moment in its effort to become a more forceful financial supervisor.
California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a bill holding the state’s employers legally responsible for wage and safety violations committed by their subcontractors and temp agencies. With the new law, California will have some of the country’s farthest-reaching protections for temporary workers, among the fastest growing and most vulnerable segments of the workforce.
California made big news recently when it announced the first statewide ban on plastic shopping bags set to kick in during the middle of 2015. Of course, Americans are late to the party when it comes to banning plastic bags: The European Union, China, India and dozens of other nations already have plastic bag bans or taxes in place.
A senior professor of economics argues that the economics now being taught in university classrooms “makes it appear as though markets descended straight from heaven while maintaining a conspiracy of silence on the Achilles heals of free markets such as not paying sufficient attention to safety, not caring enough about the environment, and being indifferent to the welfare of future generations.”
This essay by Christiana Whitcomb was awarded First Prize in the 2014 Elie Wiesel Foundation Prize in Ethics Contest.
“I work for the Gap and know firsthand the amount of waste that’s produced at my store. Can you suggest ways retail stores can reduce waste? And how can I get a conversation started with the people upstairs about recycling and being less wasteful?”
Pay packages for CEOs of U.S.-based companies continue out of control, writes columnist Gael O’Brien, with boards often succumbing to “fear-based” compensation practices that undermine the potential for collaborative leadership and sustainability. She notes new research which disputes conventional wisdom that CEOs can easily move to the next company if not paid well. “Tackling excessive CEO compensation,” O’Brien writes, “is the first step in creating a new normal.”
A recent New York Times investigation exposed ongoing labor and human rights abuses of foreign migrant workers who built New York University’s new campus in Abu Dhabi. The practices were contrary to a code of conduct NYU had pledged in 2009 would protect workers. The crisis hit several days before the first commencement at the campus last week in Abu Dhabi.
Columnist Gael O’Brien continues her look at the “purpose journey” and what it can mean for individuals and organizations. While having purpose helps, it also brings obligations. “The dark side of purpose,” she writes, “is that once you start talking about it, you can’t lead wearing blinders because accountability for impact comes with the territory.”
A growing number of chief financial officers are increasingly involved in environmental and social initiatives that not long ago were totally divorced from their company’s income statements or balance sheets. At The Walt Disney Company, CFO Jay Rasulo says combining corporate citizenship with financial oversight “allows us to integrate our work in citizenship with the other financial strengths of the company. And if I’m successful in doing that, I believe I’ll actually create even more value for our shareholders.”
A new initiative to develop standards for reporting on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues by publicly-held U.S. companies has launched its first set of standards – for the health care sector – with ambitious plans to develop similar standards for more than 80 industries in 10 sectors over the next two years.
With the increasing activism of the public generally and institutional investors specifically it is more important than ever for the leaders of companies to take a proactive and honest effort to understand how public audiences view the operations and management of the organization.
In an exclusive interview with the Wall Street Journal, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates discusses the challenges of philanthropy in an economic recession and how his tenure at Microsoft prepared him for his new job running the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
One of the most persistent corporate responsibility issues for many global brands is how to manufacture products in less developed countries while paying fair wages and maintaining acceptable working conditions. The New York Times reports on an experiment by a U.S. clothing company that is paying factory workers in the Dominican Republic a “living wage” – three times the average pay of the country’s apparel workers.
Leading power tool manufacturers have conspired for years to thwart adoption of a safety device that could prevent thousands of finger amputations and other disfiguring injuries in table saw accidents, according to a federal antitrust lawsuit filed by the developer of the safety technology.
Companies that invest in the management of environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks are far better prepared to deal with business “shocks” and can demonstrate to investors a “resilience” that potentially translates into higher stock market valuations, according to a new report by the consulting firm Deloitte.
This coming April 22 will mark the 44th annual celebration of Earth Day, and the focus this year will be green cities. “As the world’s population migrates to cities, and as the bleak reality of climate change becomes increasingly clear, the need to create sustainable communities is more important than ever,” reports Earth Day Network.
In “Arbitrage,” the new Hollywood film starring Richard Gere, the leading character’s wife asks: “How much money do we need? Do you want to be the richest guy in the cemetery?” Business Ethics columnist Gael O’Brien offers her views.