China’s extensive state censorship is just one example of the challenges that companies frequently confront when doing business globally. In an excerpt from his new book, former GE legal counsel Ben W. Heineman, Jr. examines the “recurrent dilemma” confronting businesses when a corporation’s global ethical standards collide with national law.
Facing a wave of criticism for allowing advertisers to exclude anyone with an “affinity” for African-American, Asian-American or Hispanic people from seeing ads, Facebook said it would build an automated system that would let it better spot ads that discriminate illegally.
Big railroads are often targeted by complaints of illegal retaliation against whistleblowers who disclose safety hazards or report on-the-job injuries. A recent $1.25 million damage award to a former BNSF Railway Co. employee spotlights what critics say is the unjust punishment sometimes meted out to railroad workers who report injuries or safety problems.
A 2015 working paper from Harvard Law School, “Corporate Speech and the First Amendment: History, Data and Implications,” indicates that Citizens United, while certainly important, is only the latest in a series of cases that have expanded corporate use of the First Amendment. In his research, the author, John C. Coates IV, performed an analysis of nearly 13,000 Supreme Court decisions from 1946 to December 2014.
Since the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, American law has required publicly traded companies to detail their sources of so-called “conflict minerals.. Academic research finds that almost 80 percent of firms were unable to determine the sources of the minerals in their products while only one percent could certify their products free of conflict minerals “with great certainty.”
Teaching our kids about sustainability and green living is one of the most important things we can do to safeguard the future of humanity and the planet we inhabit. The North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) reports that environmental education teaches children how to learn about and investigate their environment and to make intelligent, informed decisions about sustainability.
Workers’ comp was founded on the premise that employers owed a duty to injured workers and their families. And laws in every state require them to pay workers’ medical bills and some of their lost wages until they recover — or for life if they can’t. An investigation by ProPublica and NPR looks at one Texas lawyer who is helping major companies opt out of workers’ compensation and write their own rules. What does it mean for injured workers?
Columnist Gael O’Brien examines the achievements and contributions of a man – W. Michael Hoffman (pictured left) – and the Center for Business Ethics at Bentley University, which he founded 40 years ago. “Legacy goes beyond a name on a building,” O’Brien writes. “It’s the sustained passion that connects with and energizes the passion of others sharing a mission.”
The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity conducts an annual essay contest for undergraduate full-time Juniors or Seniors at accredited four-year colleges or universities in the United States. Students may write about any topic they wish, as long as their essay explores the theme of ethics. The Prize in Ethics Essay Contest was established by the Elie […]
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.”
Columnist Gael O’Brien says Volkswagen’s confession to rigging emissions standards on millions of diesel cars means the company’s board and new CEO, Matthias Müller (left), need to understand and correct what made it possible for illegal and unethical choices to be made when obstacles to business goals surfaced. What prevented anyone from speaking up or if anyone did, from being heard? And what are leaders willing to do to change that?
Understanding the impact one has on others is an obvious requirement for today’s business leaders. So as we plan for the year ahead, writes columnist Gael O’Brien, the process of reflecting on leadership is valuable – and critically important to “leaders earning the right to be followed, employees feeling that what they do matters and customers not being put at risk.”
The failure of the proposed Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger in April 2015 had many causes, but certainly the substantial amount of public attention to the issue of net neutrality over the past two years contributed to it. How exactly net neutrality rose from a somewhat obscure issue to one of mass attention stands as a compelling case study in new forms of digital communications — and the degree to which online actors may play a role in shaping public policy.
A survey of American Red Cross employees shows a crisis of trust in the charity’s leadership and deep internal doubts about the Red Cross’ commitment to ethical conduct. In response to the statement, “I trust the senior leadership of the American Red Cross,” just 39 percent responded favorably.
Commentary: When a Workplace Tragedy is Also a Crime (Comments Off)
When we hear about shootings, bank robberies, or home invasions, we expect the perpetrators to be arrested, tried, and punished appropriately if they are found guilty. When an employer ignores workplace safety and causes a worker to be seriously injured or killed on the job, it is just as criminal, yet arrests and prosecutions are rare. Why does our justice system so often shield businesses, CEOs, and other executives from criminal charges when they gamble with workers’ lives?
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.
“We live not just in a global economy but in a global supply chain,” says international labor expert Richard Locke. “The most important thing is to educate consumers, especially in large markets, so they understand that the choices they make have implications for issues of living standards, working conditions and justice in the factories that produce most of the things we buy every day.”
Big Pharma has written more than $30 billion in checks in the last 10 years to resolve government allegations of illegal marketing, according to consumer watchdog group Public Citizen. Yet those sums are essentially petty cash for the drug giants, says Public Citizen, amounting to less than 5 percent of the net profits raked in by the 11 largest global pharmaceuticals firms over a similar period.
Many investors could increase profits and assemble a portfolio more in accord with their personal values if they actively managed their own investments. This opportunity is in part due to the vast resources of the web. But particular knowledge is also essential for successful do-it-yourself (DIY) ethical investing.
In an excerpt from their new book, two senior McKinsey consultants argue that rather than facing a crisis because of natural resource scarcity, businesses confront an opportunity that will reframe the world’s economy and create opportunities for trillions of dollars in profits.
A new television/video program, “Business In Society,” delivering news and analysis on how business is addressing global society’s macro problems — among them, the environment, energy conservation, and women’s empowerment — debuts Saturday, March 30th, 2013.