The Magazine of Corporate Responsibility

American Apparel: Sex, Power and Terrible Corporate Governance (0)

Efforts by American Apparel’s board to oust founder and CEO Dov Charney don’t impress columnist Gael O’Brien. It’s one thing to tolerate a philosophy that a sexually-charged workplace fosters creativity, she writes, but another to allow “the repugnant behavior of its leader, who sexualized the workplace as a stalking ground for employee relationships called consensual, disregarding disparity of age and power.”

Full Story»

Business Ethics»

NYU’s New Campus in Abu Dhabi: An Education in Human Rights Practice (0)

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.

Compliance & Governance»

Case Study: The Search for Great Leadership (1)

If you were selecting a new president for your organization, what leadership qualities should he or she possess to be successful in navigating all the challenges you can foresee and those you can’t? Columnist Gael O’Brien discusses an unusual symposium of leading educators who offered advice to The Ohio State University as it goes about the process of identifying a new president.

Corporate Political Spending»

House Finance Chair Goes on Ski Vacation with Wall Street (0)

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.

CSR»

International Labor Standards and Corporate Supply Chains: An Interview with Richard Locke (0)

“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.”

Economy»

The Need for a New Way to Teach Economics (2)

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.”

Education»

Learning to Do the Right Thing – Right Here, Right Now (1)

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.”

Ethics Case Scenarios»

Reducing Waste in Retail Store Operations (0)

“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?”

Executive Compensation»

CEO Pay: ‘Time to Retire the Rock Star Messiah Myth’ (1)

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.”

International»

Sustainability Progress: More ‘Words’ Than ‘Action’ (0)

While sustainability is increasingly “appearing on the radars and agendas of companies around the world,” a clear gap exists between corporate “words” and “action,” according to the newly-released Global Corporate Sustainability Report 2013 from the United Nations Global Compact.

Leadership»

Grappling with the Challenges of the ‘Purpose Journey’ (0)

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.”

Media»

At Disney and Other Companies, CFOs Help Drive Sustainability (0)

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.”

NGOs»

Sustainability Reporting Group Issues First Standards for SEC Filings (0)

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.

Opinion»

Opinion: KPMG Insider Trading Scandal Damages the Reputation of the Accounting Profession (0)

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.

Philanthropy»

VIDEO: Bill Gates on Philanthropy During a Recession (0)

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.

Poverty»

Trying to Break the Sweatshop Business Model (1)

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.

Regulation & Legislation»

Power Tool Makers Accused of Thwarting Adoption of Finger-Saving Device (0)

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.

Socially Responsible Investing»

Report: Managing Environmental and Social Risk Helps Create More ‘Valuable’ Enterprise (0)

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.

Sustainability»

The Most Important Climate Change Question: How Will Investors React? (0)

Many analysts focus on what governments around the world will do to avoid a climate change calamity. Two advocates on climate change issues pose a different question: how will investors and businesses respond to limitations on carbon emissions, or even the likelihood of limitations? And how will they respond when they realize climate change itself threatens their operations and future income opportunities?

Video»

Arbitrage, When There Is Never Enough (0)

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.

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