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Is it really only a game?

According to Channel 4’s website, Shilpa has said that “The only thing I really hope to keep is my self-respect and my dignity”.  It’s a pity some of the other participants in Big Brother don’t have similar ambitions.

Channel 4 doesn’t seem to have much time for its own dignity either.  And this is the same company which says that “Channel’s role goes beyond creating powerful television. In terms of corporate responsibility our mission is to inspire and challenge the behaviour of our people our producers and suppliers and our audiences to promote positive social, environmental and personal change.

Carphone Warehouse has apparently had enough.  So why can’t Channel 4 intervene?  It’s only a game isn’t it, not a religious rite?

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Doing good by avoiding evil

Will it ever be enough just to to avoid evil, as Google tries to do, without striving actively to ‘do good’? Well, imagine a world in which companies did no evil…I certainly wouldn’t mind living there!

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Do no ethics

Google will be censoring itself in China. In the search engine stakes, Google is losing out to Yahoo at the moment, which probably counts for a lot. However it is important that they intend to disclose the fact that their results are being censored. Such transparency over what they are doing, in real time alongside search results, is a crucial factor.This affair also raises the issue of the correct form of ethical reasoning: what is right in principle vs the utilitarian aim of increasing the number of people with access to its services. Google’s behaviour suggests that the more profitable form is apparently always the more correct!

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Externalising the Economist's Ethcs

The Economist is against CSR: the business of business is business and the pursuit of ethics is at best a distraction; what is ethical is market-driven behaviour. But markets are riddled with externalities – externalities are things which you don’t pay for, but get anyway. Some are good, some are bad, but there are very few markets free of them. So is it ethical to promote a free market system which is riddled with externalities? Is it ethical to sell something which is broken? The Economist thinks so.

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Charities Aid Foundation Conference

Attended the CAF Conference on Corporates and Communties yesterday. Corporate Community Investment is becoming quite a business in many senses. So much so that the old fashioned moral righteousness is being edged out – which could be a shame! It’s clearly a good idea for companies to see what sort of a business case there is for investing in ways that provide a win-win. But Mark Kramer, for example, declared that he found the idea of companies having a duty to invest in communites ‘difficult’.

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Corporate Virtue is its Own Reward

The Co-Op has admitted it made mistakes in the way it has been managing its corner shops – and this, rather than increased competition, led to poor sales. Instead of knocking the Co-Op, the conclusion in this Guardian article is that it is likely to recover commercially from its problems sooner as the result of its honesty, compared with Sainsbury’s which is not being so honest.

Why do most companies persist with the more usual, PR-based, approach to corporate disclosure, which is to insist that everything is just about perfect just about all the time…?

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What is the responsibility of a company in a time of war?

Do companies have a special responsibility in a time of war? Or should they simply keep their heads down, hoping to make a bit of money – or just get out?