Thinking Ethics was a project launched in Geneva to foster the debate about ethics. A few friends, fed up with only reading about abuses in the media, decided to hold a forward-looking seminar on five subjects: ethics and performance, ethics and knowledge, ethics and consciousness, ethics and disobedience and ethics in real time. If moral has to do with right and wrong, then ethics is its application in society. We believe that people need to talk about the subject to determine the level of ethics they want. The book Thinking Ethics, a result of the seminar, is to start the discussion. This blog is a contribution to the conversation. :
Sustainability has a study called Rate the Raters - and tries to understand how sustainability ratings are being used by stakeholders - mostly investors, sustainability analysts and the companies being rated. They partnered with Bloomberg to do the survey to see how investors were considering the environmental, social and governance ratings when making investments, and the results can be seen/heard in a 12 minute video here.
About a year ago I found this article by Kyle W on Care2 about how California was creating 2 new classes of corporations to empower social entrepreneurs: Benefit Corporations and Flexible Purpose Corporations. Well I am all for empowering social entrepreneurs, so now that several months have passed I began trolling around to see how successful these forms of corporations have become. Apparently, 7 States have adopted legislation to register B corporations and to date 603 companies have gone for it!
There seems to be one major organization that promotes them called, what else, B Corporation. From their website, here is the definition of B Corporations:
Meet comprehensive and transparent social and environmental performance standards;
Meet higher legal accountability standards;
Build business constituency for public policies that support sustainable business.
California also passed legislation for the Flexible Purpose Corporation which allows companies to state one other purpose besides maximizing shareholder value. This mean that directors can maximize stakeholder value and can't be sued for not maximizing profit. I believe California is the only State which has adopted this type.
It is usually easier to make progress when you start from a lower position, as each increment has a bigger impact. This does not seem to be the case with the banking sector, which has been blamed for the economic crisis that has gone global and whose ethical rankings slipped tremendously since 2008.
The Banking sector report published by Covalence (the Swiss ethical ranking company) shows that the ethical reputation of banks seems to show smaller progress than the other sectors . Probably because they are still shy in offering sustainable products, which negatively affects their score. Most of their clients are still concerned about preserving and growing their assets after the stock market re-adjustment.
For the press release and link towards the report click here.
Covalence has published its ethical ranking for 2009.
IBM (Technology), Intel Corp (Technology) and HSBC Holdings (Banks) top Covalence ethical ranking 2009 among 581 multinationals within 18 sectors. Environmental initiatives, Eco-innovative products and social sponsorships have enabled companies to generate positive coverage in 2009, while issues related to downsizing, CO2 emissions and working conditions caused the most criticisms.
The Swiss based ethical ranking and ethical reputation company Covalence has just issued their Health care sector report 2009. If you are interested in the ethical ranking of the pharmaceutical companies, a link to the summary of the report is here.
For those of you who are interested,the Swiss based ethical ranking company Covalence has just posted their third quarter 2009 ethical ranking. See comment and link to press release below
IBM (Technology), Intel Corp (Technology) and HSBC Holdings (Banks) top Covalence ethical ranking among 541 multinationals within 18 sectors. Eco-innovative products and social sponsorships have enabled companies to generate positive coverage over the last quarter, while issues related to employment and working conditions (wages, bonuses) caused criticisms - the pressure being particularly strong in France and towards the Banking sector.
How green are the products we buy ? The good news is that a sustainability index is in the making. Walmart is sending a 15 question survey to all of its suppliers in order to create an index. They hope to share it by creating a common database.
Surprisins that Walmart is taking the lead on this - but maybe not. They are moving from a PR save exercice to incorporating sustainability into the culture, and now they are extending it to their suppliers (this is a first step in that direction). The critics on their sustainability report were a bit hard - apparently they put everything in there but the kitchen sink - 120 pages ! Lacking somewhat in focus. But watch this space - I think they are moving towards a new business model...
Good article on the sustainability index on Globalethics.org's Ethics Newsline here.