Tag Archive for ‘BP’
Corporate governance expert Paul Strebel says the repeated failure of boards to intervene early enough to avert corporate disasters reflects a serious problem in the boardroom that cannot simply be swept under the carpet: boards are out of touch often with those who can make or break a company.
Transparency – the effective provision of credible information to stakeholders in a way that improves decision-making and increases legitimacy and trust – is a rapidly growing requirement for international corporations, particularly those in mining, oil and gas, also known as the extractive industries.
While daily news headlines can sometimes make it easy to assume that big business is incapable of doing good in the world, contributor Christine Bader argues that there exists a “global army” of Corporate Idealists hard at work on a host of environmental and social issues. She offers the beginnings of a Manifesto to help support that army – “an outline of the principles and actions that will help us better align the interests of business and society.”
Deutsche Bank AG was sued last week by the City of Los Angeles, which called the world’s fourth largest bank one of the city’s largest slumlords. The bank was also sued by the federal government on separate charges of fraud and lying to benefit from mortgage insurance offered through a subsidiary. Columnist Gael O’Brien thinks both cases say a lot about the destruction of trust – a quality needed by business in the long-term.
The oil spill that was once expected to bring economic ruin to the Gulf Coast appears to have delivered something entirely different: a gusher of money. So many people cashed in that they earned nicknames – “spillionaires” or “BP rich.” Meanwhile, others hurt by the spill ended up getting comparatively little.
Columnist Gael O’Brien examines several recent crises and finds a common trait: self-deception by leadership. It “reflects an image that allows leaders to disengage and disconnect from their actual impact on others,” she writes. “Aside from the damage it does to those affected, it creates an understandable gap in trust, which is the very thing leaders want to re-build after a crisis.”
A feisty debate over the safety of the widely used chemical triclosan has put Colgate-Palmolive at the center of a case study in product disclosure and corporate responsibility – one that may ultimately help outline how companies wading through a murky regulatory review and unsettled science should attend to their stakeholders and customers.
Does a commitment to corporate responsibility provide cover for bad corporate behavior? Stories about companies behaving badly make commitments to CR look hollow at best. Neil Smith argues it is not just commitments that matter, but the corporate culture set by the person at the top of the organization and internal subcultures determined by the employees and managers which are important.
No board of directors should feel smug about how well their company has prepared for a crisis, writes Betsy Atkins, an independent director of several publicly-held companies. Instead, she says, a board needs to insure there’s an effective crisis management plan in place – one that can protect shareholder value and the value of the corporate brand.
“Sustainable excellence” is a term used by Aron Cramer and Zachary Karabell to describe companies that operate profitably, are committed to superior business practices, and “integrate consideration of society and the environment into their DNA.” Gael O’Brien reviews their new book.