Do Your Suppliers Rely On Slave Labor? How Can You Know?

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.

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Toyota’s Tylenol moment

Read the article here.

Excerpt:
For guidance — and perhaps inspiration — Toyota should do some research on the Johnson & Johnson Tylenol recall of 1982.

That year, seven people in the Chicago area died from taking Tylenol capsules poisoned with potassium cyanide. The case remains unsolved, and no suspects were ever charged.

But Johnson & Johnson (JNJ, Fortune 500) didn’t wait around for the authorities to act. It stopped production of Tylenol and issued a nationwide recall of 31 million bottles already in circulation with a retail value of over $100 million.

The murders stopped, and J&J’s actions led to changes in packaging — those annoying seals on everything from aspirin to milk — as well as federal anti-tampering laws. Through its prompt action, J&J was able to actually enhance the value of the Tylenol brand by making product safety one of its attributes.

Toyota has a much tougher job ahead of it. That’s because the problems in its cars are not the result of a crazed individual but are systemic to the product development process. Fixing the system that allowed the defects to occur will be complex and expensive.

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How Will the Citizens United Decision Affect Sustainable Business?

US Supreme Court
Photo by dbking
This is a very good article, full of links and references, covering not only the Citizens United case but also the issue of corporate personhood. I’m somewhat surprised at the reaction to the court’s decision in this case. As noted in this article, the US Supreme Court has previously established that corporations are persons in the Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad decision of 1886 (yes, I know that there are disagreements about the implications of that decision, and I don’t like it, either). As a result, no one should be surprised that they have been afforded the protections of the Constitution. What we really need to be doing is to be rethinking the whole corporate personhood model.

Read the article here.

Excerpt:
News outlets and the blogosphere are abuzz with reactions to Thursday’s Supreme Court decision that will allow corporations to fund political campaigns. The ruling, which overturns decades of legal precedent and legislation limiting the ability of corporations to influence the outcome of elections, may have broad implications for the political process in the U.S. News of the decision has drawn criticism from both the right and the left, many voicing the opinion that dramatically increased rights for corporations will significantly diminish the ability for individual citizens to have their voices heard.

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You may also find this article of mine to be of interest: “Capital” Punishment: For Corporations That Violate the Public Trust

With Tylenol recall 2010, a corporate icon stumbles

Johnson & Johnson has long been lauded as a champion of corporate social responsibility. Their handing of the 1982 Tylenol recall has been used as a case study for the proper management of a company in crisis. (Just google “Johnson & Johnson Tylenol case study” – a good example of which is located here.) This time, the company appears to have handled the situation differently. Read the article here.

Excerpt:
In a moment of startling corporate clarity, Johnson & Johnson recalled all its Tylenol from US store shelves in 1982 after capsules tampered with in Chicago were linked to six fatalities.

The move cost the company $100 million and threatened to decimate its leading share of the market. Instead, consumers applauded the company’s openness and sales rebounded within a year. Three decades later, the move is still regarded as a shining example of corporate social responsibility.

The time it took the company’s CEO to make that gutsy call? Six days.

On Friday, a unit of Johnson & Johnson expanded a recall of Tylenol products to other over-the-counter medicines, including Benadryl, Motrin, and Rolaids, because of reports of nausea and other symptoms. The time from those initial reports to Friday’s action? Twenty months – and only after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had finished an investigation that found multiple problems at the Johnson & Johnson factory.

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