In a new book, Whole Foods Market CEO John Mackey envisions a world where “one day, virtually every business will operate with a sense of higher purpose, integrate the interests of all stakeholders, elevate conscious leaders, and build a culture of trust, accountability and caring.”
Columnist Gael O’Brien says marketers searching for hip and edgy corporate advertising often risk reputation and close the door on social responsibility in pursuit of a breakthrough moment. Recent misfires by Pepsi, Hyundai, McDonald’s, Ford and General Motors are the latest round in advertising blunders striving for humor that instead were unwrapped as offensive and insensitive stereotypes.
The sudden resignation of Ohio State University President E. Gordon Gee from his $2 million-a-year job followed disclosures of so-called jokes he’d made about other universities and their leaders. Columnist Gael O’Brien says the incident raises questions about leadership vulnerabilities among the most seasoned of executives and how their boards respond,
In January, Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, ascended to the powerful chairmanship of the House Financial Services Committee. Six weeks later, campaign finance filings and interviews show, Hensarling was joined by representatives of the banking industry for a ski vacation fundraiser at a posh Park City, Utah, resort.
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.”
According to BP, which has already spent $14 billion on clean-up and restoration, the Gulf is returning to baseline conditions prior to the disaster. “No company has done more, faster to respond to an industrial accident than BP did in response to the Deepwater Horizon accident in 2010,” reports the company. But not everybody sees the situation that way. Many environmentalists are concerned that, while BP has done a thorough job removing visible oil from the water column and surface, little has been done to repair damage to marine life and ecosystems.
The World Bank reports that the number of people living below the $1.25-a-day poverty line declined from 52% of the population of the developing world in 1981 to 22% in 2008. But nearly 649 million of those who moved above the poverty line had a standard of living that was nevertheless below what would be defined as “poor” in middle-income developing countries and far below that of rich countries.
Educating students in corporate responsibility means making sure they think critically and recognize that ethical issues are inherent in all business decisions, says an educator. “Corporate culture must support all employees to think critically about every decision and action, every day,” she writes. “Being motivated simply to avoid prosecution is not the same as behaving ethically—and it’s often not even a good way to avoid sanctions.”
The emerging trend of “cloud computing” means that these providers have had to scale up their power consumption considerably, as they are increasingly responsible for providing more and more of the computing horsepower required by the world’s two billion Internet users.
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.”
Moscow-based CSR consultant Tatiana Klimova discusses social responsibility in Russia: its historical prerequisites, current dramatic changes and further development issues.
The former Congressman, who resigned two years ago in a sexual social media scandal, disclosed this week that he’s thinking of entering the race to become the next mayor of New York City. Columnist Gael O’Brien looks at what some other leaders have done to rehabilitate their reputations after scandal and analyzes the challenges involved in regaining trust.
The division between what’s permissible and what’s merely outrageous online grows fuzzier day by day, with legislators, regulators, police officers and businesses scrambling to harness the wild wild west of social media law. “The Internet,” says a New York district attorney, “is our 21st century crime scene.” James Hyatt reports.
Organizers from Earth Day Network (EDN), the non-profit group dedicated to diversifying and mobilizing the environmental movement through planning and coordinating Earth Day activities and events around the world, have chosen “The Face of Climate Change” as the theme for 2013’s celebration on April 22.
What possesses an audit partner to trade on inside information and violate the accounting profession’s most sacred ethical standard of audit independence? Is it carelessness, greed, or ethical blindness? In the case of Scott London, the former partner in charge of the KPMG’s Southern California’s regional audit practice, it was a bit of each that motivated him to violate ethical standards.
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.
It’s estimated that as many as 754 people die each year in states with mandatory helmet laws because they wore novelty helmets instead of safe headgear, which amounts to nearly one in six rider fatalities. Marketers of novelty helmets are unapologetic, dismissing safety concerns and saying they simply are accommodating consumer demand.
Impact investing is an emerging asset class focused on the flow of capital towards companies that align market incentives with scalable impact. In other words, investing in for-profit companies that are making the world a better place. One problem: there is actually very little investment being made, especially for seed and early-stage companies.
Environmentalists and wind energy boosters breathed a sigh of relief this past January when Congress voted to reinstate the Production Tax Credit (PTC), a federal tax incentive for companies that generate renewable energy from wind, geothermal or “closed-loop” biomass (dedicated energy crops) sources.
Has anything changed in banking regulation since the crisis of 2008? Consider the case of MF Global Holdings Ltd., a New York-based securities firm that filed for bankruptcy protection on Oct. 31 after disclosing sizable exposure to derivatives and other investments related to billions of dollars in European sovereign debt. The firm was headed by Jon Corzine, a former CEO of Goldman Sachs who subsequently went into politics and was elected U.S. Senator and, later, Governor of New Jersey. In this video clip, “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart compares and contrasts the positions and behavior of Jon Corzine, the politician, with Jon Corzine, the CEO banker.