Today, Harvard University is among more than 30 business schools offering courses on social responsibility.* This is illustrative of many positive trends in business, as exemplified by the growth of Business for Social Responsibility.
Quality production and labor practices are being adopted by global companies attracted to markets that adhere to higher standards. Europe’s demands for fruit without pesticides was one of the factors that led to a quality certification for 1,200 growers in Brazil. The standards have been a win-win situation for growers, laborers, the economy and consumers. Brazil’s guarantee of quality produce, grown with respect for the environment, work conditions and health, has led to increases in exports;— and employment — since its implementation four years ago. Additionally, a decrease of 40 percent in the use of fertilizers and of 25 percent in the use of pesticides created “a positive influence on their production costs.”
Ethical labor and environmental practices are being enforced by visionary CEOs who see that responsibility and integrity is good business… and lead to profitability. In recent years, Dell, HP and IBM led the electronic industry in creating the Electronic Industry Code of Conduct (EICC) that regulates the business practices of suppliers, including their labor and employment practices, health and safety rules, business ethics and protection of the environment. (pdf download of the EICC)
Many other companies adopted the code including Celestica, Cisco, Flextronics, Foxconn, Intel, Jabil, Lucent, Microsoft, Sanmina SCI, Seagate, Solectron and Sony. With their participation, and more companies interested, according to HP, “the lives of even more workers around the world can be improved.”
-photo by John Stone, www.eyeclectic.net (Brazil story submitted by Tif Short)