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.”
“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?”
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.
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.
When the U.S. Supreme Court issued its 5-4 decision in Wal-Mart v. Dukes in June 2011, no one needed a Richter scale to know it was a Big One. In throwing out a lawsuit by women employees who claimed that they’d been systematically underpaid and underpromoted by the world’s biggest corporation, the ruling upended decades of employment discrimination law and raised serious barriers to future large-scale discrimination cases..
In what’s being billed as the greatest environmental initiative of his presidency, Barack Obama announced on June 25 that his administration is instituting stringent mandatory restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions by power plants, factories and other industrial sources. Most environmentalists are happy that Obama is finally committing to decisive action to reduce the nation’s carbon footprint.
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.”
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.
A good boss helps create an environment where employees can succeed. But that dynamic can grow complicated when employees have issues that blur the boundary between work and home. “What, if anything, is owed when a boss offers help if personal problems or negative emotions affect an employee on the job?” asks columnist Gael O’Brien. “Does good leadership merit a quid quo pro?”
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.”
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.
Health advocates are blasting the Obama administration for watering down a proposal aimed at keeping the tobacco industry from exploiting trade agreements to fight tough anti-smoking rules.
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.
In April 2013 the non-profit Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) brought together two dozen nationally respected craft beer brewers to launch the Brewers for Clean Water Campaign, which aims to leverage the economic growth of the craft brewing sector into a powerful voice for bolstering clean water protection in theUnited States.
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.