What happens when big companies behave badly?

Posted on 23 Mar 2011 in Support Ethical | 0 comments

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Some companies are so big, rich and powerful that the things they do shape our world and their activities directly impact our environment, our standard of living and our health & well-being.

Their impact can be positive, but on the other hand, their impact can be damaging to society. There are plenty of examples in the food industry of companies doing things that harm our health, the environment and the welfare of workers. For some examples see this really well researched blog from Debate Your Plate.

It’s not that these companies are driven by bad people or deliberately unethical practises… it’s that they are simply doing what they are set up to do, which is to put short term profit before everything else and get that 8%, 9%, 10% return every year for their shareholders.

These companies are run by people who are very bright and talented at making the decisions that will deliver this return and more often than not this means treating any bad impacts they have as “externalities” (i.e. “it’s not our problem to fix.”) So, if the paper they source is from unsustainable sources, that’s not their problem. If the workers they contract from a third party are paid slave wages, that’s not their problem. If the food they sell is chocker full of salt but you don’t really know unless you look at the small print on the back, that’s not their problem.

At hiSbe we are optimists… we think businesses will start to take responsibility for the impact they have on people’s well-being and stop just externalising it. We think more and more businesses in the future will realise they are part of society and start to serve society.

We think this is how it Should be! What do you think?


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