Tag Archive for ‘Nike’
In July 2011, the United Nations Human Rights Council endorsed a set of principles designed to address human rights abuses by business. In an interview, the man who led development of those principles – Harvard professor John Ruggie – discusses their implications and explains why he thinks the newly-coined term “human rights due diligence” has already become a permanent entry in the lexicon of international business.
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.
“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.
Investment firm Walden Asset Management recently researched and compiled quotes from sustainability and corporate responsibility reports by several dozen companies in a wide range of industries. The exercise showed, says a Walden executive, that attention to such issues has become vitally important for a company’s business, and that transparent reporting is, as one CEO said, one of “the prices of doing business today.”
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.
BP’s failure to stop the worst oil spill in U.S. history is indicative of a much larger problem with companies that have embraced one of the central ideas in management today: stakeholder theory. The idea that companies can meet the needs of “stakeholders” leaves them open to moral abuse without normative principles at its core.
The co-founder of Seventh Generation argues that “when companies shift their value proposition from selling desirable products to solving difficult social and environmental problems, whole new opportunities arise.”
Nike’s latest report on the company’s corporate responsibility initiatives features a slick multimedia display and a 176-page written document. You can see Nike grappling, in public, with some tough choices. Labor and human rights continue as a top priority and corporate worry.
The CEO of a leading socially responsible investment firm thinks it’s curious that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which ostensibly represents the business community, “has not only chosen to oppose climate change solutions but continues to advance the specious argument that we face a stark choice between the environment and the economy – that addressing climate change will somehow be bad for business and cost us jobs. The opposite is the case.”