American Apparel has been rebuked in the UK for the sixth time in two and a half years over its advertising. Each time for being offensive to women. It seems the corporate culture behind the ads has affected its share price – which has continued to fall over the past five years, while the markets as a whole have risen.
This is not evidence that doing good drives good business so much as that doing badly in ethical terms can affect business badly.
Why is it then, with cautionary tales like this and the considerable research literature on the matter, that it is still so easy to find examples of poor ethics in business?
There’s clearly still money in behaving badly.