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Consulting embryos about their fate

Do we want mixed animal-human embryos?

Since no one is willing to guarantee a cure for anything, I suspect not.  But here’s how you rubbish a piece of consultation: declare the responses to be ‘unbalanced’.  This item on itv.com, for example, reported that “concerns have been expressed that organised groups, opposed to any kind of embryo research, made up the bulk of respondents.

So if the public do not want something you want, then the consultation hasn’t worked properly.  Convenient.

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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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Being Free with the Press

It appears that both BP and Morgan Stanley are trying to extend their sphere of control. Not content with any self-censorship by the press, it appears they have declared they wish to see in advance all articles mentioning them when they advertise. And they will pull ads with uncomfortable bedfellows. And I had thought these giants of the ethical world wanted to build our trust in them – not command our thoughts.

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Embedded Reporters

Reporting a war means embedded reporters. What status should their views have? Not only are their reports limited in scope, they are also prohibited from reporting security information. We are trading understanding for the gritty excitement of shaking cameras. We also try to embed sustainability within companies. What is the trade off here? Can companies be sustainble all by themselves – or do they need to interact with their environment, and their stakeholders, to achieve a judicious view of their responsibilties?

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CORE Conference

At the CORE (COrporate REsponsibility) Conference today there were many good ideas. A central part of the CORE campaign is a call for mandatory corporate responsibility reporting. There were many reasons given why a voluntary approach won’t work. But for me the most compelling idea was the need to recognise a “right to information”. This would complement a duty on companies to provide it. After all, if companies should respect our rights – and that duty is only enforceable with knowledge of what they are doing – then there must also be a right to that information.