You’ll find me at www.twitter.com/bizEthics
Have not been able to post here much, so i am winding down the site.
Here was my first lofty post, from back in 2003.
From NonProfit Quarterly, June 17, 2016.
Senator Charles E. Grassley of the Senate Judiciary and Finance Committees issued a letter on Thursday essentially declaring that the American Red Cross (ARC) is stonewalling his investigation on questions of accountability where its activities and spending in Haiti are concerned. The ARC received approximately $487 million dollars to provide food and shelter in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake.
Eventually, questions began to be raised about the organization’s effectiveness in Haiti, with charges about inefficiencies and waste. Grassley mentioned that reports also surfaced about the ARC viewing the disaster as a public relations and fundraising opportunity.
From Forbes, May 1, 2016
Leading social compliance organizations are asking participating companies to report on their efforts to make sure that they are not procuring goods produced by slave labor in their corporate social responsibility reports. And 2015 saw “an unparalleled spike in legislative and enforcement efforts.” More recently, President Obama signed into law a bill containing a provision that officially bans imports of goods made by forced labor.
What can companies do about this? Well some big companies are throwing people at the problem. In a Wall Street Journal article, Jackie Sturm, vice president of global supply chain management at Intel, explained that educating and training suppliers requires a significant commitment in time, resources and patience. Intel has two dozen people dedicated to the task plus dozens more who assist in the effort.
This joint ProPublica/NPR report is extremely troubling, raising questions about how the Red Cross managed relief efforts after Hurricanes Sandy and Issac.
From the report:
During Isaac, Red Cross supervisors ordered dozens of trucks usually deployed to deliver aid to be driven around nearly empty instead, “just to be seen,” one of the drivers, Jim Dunham, recalls.
“We were sent way down on the Gulf with nothing to give,” Dunham says. The Red Cross’ relief effort was “worse than the storm.”
During Sandy, emergency vehicles were taken away from relief work and assigned to serve as backdrops for press conferences, angering disaster responders on the ground.
From the article:
One slice of the hybrid organization movement that seems to be pumping right along is comprised by “B Corporations,” for-profit entities deemed to meet public benefit standards of being socially responsible, often in terms of their dealings with communities and the environment. Companies assessed and certified by a nonprofit called B Lab can place a “B Corp” logo on their marketing materials. In addition to the private certification process overseen by B Lab, more than half of the states in the U.S. have adopted legislation to authorize “benefit corporations,” which may or may not overlap with certified B Corporations.
From the article:
The Justice Department said on Thursday that it had so far recovered nearly $37 billion from big banks for their role in selling shoddy mortgages before the financial crisis.
Such a large number — intended to deter misdeeds in the future — suggests that Wall Street is being made to pay for its role in stoking the subprime debacle. Yet the financial pain inflicted by the settlements may not be as great in the end.
This investigation by NPR and the Center for Public Integrity on the issue of black lung shows – once again – that industry can’t be trusted to police itself. Workers are not being protected. The coal industry has gamed the system through the exploitation of loopholes, as well as downright fraud. Regulators are not doing their jobs, either; the analysis in this story shows that they have known for more than 20 years that miners are breathing excessive amounts of coal dust.
From the series:
From the very beginning, miners reported “irregularities” in controlling coal mine dust, says Donald Rasmussen, 84, a pulmonologist in Beckley, W.Va. Rasmussen says he’s tested 40,000 coal miners for black lung in the last 50 years.
“So many miners will say, ‘If you think the dust is controlled you’re crazy,’ ” he says.
Measuring coal mine dust is key to preventing overexposure. Excess dust can trigger citations, fines and even slowdowns in coal production. Mining companies enforce their own compliance by taking and reporting mine dust samples. Federal mine inspectors also test for excessive dust.
Donald Rasmussen, 84, a pulmonologist in Beckley, W.Va., says he has tested 40,000 coal miners in the last 50 years.
But NPR and CPI have found widespread and persistent gaming of the system designed to measure and control exposure.
Richard Allen, a federal mine inspector underground when the 1969 law first took effect, says he remembers a strange question from a Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) investigator about a carpet’s color in a coal mine manager’s office.
“It was blue and [MSHA was finding] little blue fibers in each [mine dust] sample,” Allen says. “[Investigators] cross-referenced the fibers in these samples to that carpet and found that he was sampling in his office” and not deep inside the mine.
The mine manager was later convicted of defrauding the mine safety agency and served time in prison.
Federal records obtained by CPI and NPR describe 103 cases resulting in criminal convictions for fraudulent dust sampling from 1980 through 2002. Fines totaled $2.2 million, and some mining company officials went to jail.
In 1991, the Labor Department levied civil fines of more than $6.5 million against about 500 coal mines for tampering with mine dust samples.
Listen to the series or read the transcript here.
From the article:
A friend wrote me last week to say how troubled she was by this stunner from her 19-year-old: The freshman at a private liberal-arts college told her mom that cheating on exams was standard operating procedure at school, and that she fully expected that cheating would be an everyday thing once she got into the workplace, too.
“To really get ahead, and get what you want in the business world, it is absolutely necessary to cheat,” the student told her horrified mother. Forgo a chance to cheat and you’re foolishly transferring a perfectly good opportunity to some other cheater who will reap the benefits, she said.
Though she’s years from gainful employment, the young woman has something in common with lots of people already securing a paycheck in the job world.
Read the rest of the article here.
From the article:
If we were to look at the 12 leverage points described by Donella Meadows as the places to intervene in a system to try and change it, I believe we would find Monsanto at #12, the first step in the journey. Item 12 is Numbers. It is concerned with measuring and setting targets. Monsanto’s CSR report is full of numbers and targets, primarily aimed at increasing agricultural yield, which is the part of the problem they have been working on. But most experts who have studied world hunger as a system problem, say that poverty, inequality and distribution are the root causes. There is enough food being produced right now, to feed everyone, if we could just get it distributed. In fact, we produce 17% more calories per person today than we did 30 years ago, despite the increase in population. Why then, do we need to double production when the population is only growing by somewhere around 28%?