Articles & Blogs, Category = Business ethics & CSR

Category: Business ethics & CSR

“That Businesses Are Run to Maximize Profits for Shareholders Is Just Plain Wrong”

“Ever heard that a corporation’s sole duty is to maximize value for shareholders? In the go-go ‘80s, business schools, government organizations, and most public companies took up this mantra. It stuck around. William Lazonick, emeritus professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, has long held that idea to be not only wrong, but disastrous to society — a cause of ills ranging from a vanishing middle class to stymied innovation. Finally America is listening, including the New Yorker magazine, which hails him as ‘The Economist Who Put Stock Buybacks in Washington’s Crosshairs.’ Lazonick speaks to the Institute for New Economic Thinking about how he managed to break through the fog of false consensus.”

Companies’ Self-Regulation Doesn’t Have to Be Bad for the Public

“If Boeing is allowed to certify that a crash-prone aircraft is safe, and Facebook can violate users’ privacy expectations, should companies and industries ever be allowed to police themselves? The debate is heating up particularly in the U.S. tech sector with growing calls to regulate – or even break up – the likes of Google, Apple and Amazon. It turns out to be possible, at least sometimes, for companies and industries to govern themselves, while still protecting the public interest.”

The Investor Revolution

“Most corporate leaders understand that businesses have a key role to play in tackling urgent challenges such as climate change. But many of them also believe that pursuing a sustainability agenda runs counter to the wishes of their shareholders. Sure, some heads of large investment firms say they care about sustainability, but in practice, investors, portfolio managers, and sell-side analysts rarely engage corporate executives on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues. The impression among business leaders is that ESG just hasn’t gone mainstream in the investment community.”

[Organizational] Ethics by Design 2019 Conference Videos

“We explored, among other topics, whether the law (and defensive legal practices) can risk loss of integrity in organizations; how industry-led approaches to managing ethical culture can benefit internal business practice; how to create organizational structures and guidelines for employees to voice opinions (about the right things); and using evidence-based tools to better assess internal reporting systems (and how such strategies themselves can introduce ethics risk). There were also multiple talks on contemporary challenges for companies managing ethical cultures in difficult times (e.g., integrating Gen-Z, improving diversity and inclusion, etc).” – Watch the videos

How Board Members Really Feel About ESG, from Deniers to True Believers

“we interviewed 25 experienced European non-executive directors representing 50 large, well-known companies. […] Unsurprisingly, we encountered a wide range of individual attitudes — from out-and-out skepticism around the importance of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) criteria to fervent belief. But when we looked a little more closely we discovered that directors cohere around five distinct archetypes of behavior. In profiling the different types, we identified strategies to help directors overcome resistance to ESG issues at the director level.”

Why I’m Excited about the Conscious Capitalism Certification Program

“Over the years, there are three things I’ve longed for as I built my consulting practice: (1) A community of fellow consultants who are hungry to grow this movement leader by leader, company by company until conscious capitalism is the new business as usual, (2) Somewhere to go to show my work to people who understand this stuff and who can help me get continually better at what I do, (3)…”

Wall Street and the Behavioral Science of Making Culture Ethical

Ethical Systems recently caught up with Engler to hear how he sees the way behavioral science can help organizations, particularly in the financial sector, assess and reform their cultures to make them more ethical. Engler published a book on this topic a couple of months ago, titled Remaking Culture on Wall Street: A Behavioral Science Approach for Building Trust from the Bottom Up.

To Get Companies to Take Action on Social Issues, Emphasize Morals, Not the Business Case

“We’ve seen the business case for a plethora of social issues: increasing diversity, sustainability, corporate social responsibility, corporate philanthropy, corporate volunteering programs, reducing poverty, and treating employees well. Yet some have questioned whether we always have to make the business case. For example, don’t many organizational leaders want to improve society as an end in itself? Research also shows the business case can activate a leader’s “economic schema,” or a tendency to make decisions solely from an economic viewpoint, which can lead to less compassionate behavior. So we set out to scientifically study whether the business case or the moral case for combatting social problems was most persuasive to managers.”

Oil Execs Should Be Tried for Crimes Against Humanity, Essayist Kate Aronoff Argues

A new essay published in Jacobin argues that the time has come to try the executives of oil companies for crimes against humanity as a result of their actions promoting climate change. There is a legal precedent, as the heads of several German companies were tired for such crimes after WWII. Even if it never comes to pass, discussing the idea could give us a sense of what steps to make the world a greener place are possible.”

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