Business Ethics and Corporate Culture

Women’s Salaries 100 Years Behind Men’s
Europe, Middle East and Africa

The Guardian reports that new research from the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) suggests that  the £10,546 gendered pay gap in the UK will not close until 2109 if women’s pay continues to grow at the current rate. CMI head of public affairs Mike Petrook reportedly said the fact that it would take almost 100 years to achieve parity was “alarming” and is “a position we shouldn’t be finding ourselves in” because “it brings with it issues of discrimination and loss of skills”.
The Guardian: Women executives could wait 98 years for equal pay, says report (31 August 2011)
(Source: The Guardian)

Senior Staff Seconded to Riot Regions
Europe, Middle East and Africa

The Guardian reports that more than ten companies have signed up for a “Business in the Community” scheme which will see senior staff members seconded for six months to assist recovery in some of the UK’s most disadvantaged areas affected by the August 2011 riots. Reportedly, the so-called “business connectors” from Asda, Sainsbury’s, BT, Dairy Crest and Greggs will work alongside residents and groups tackling issues of youth unemployment, educational underachievement and a weak local enterprise culture.
The Guardian: Supermarkets to tackle riot zones (28 August 2011)
(Source: The Guardian)

Apple Attacked Over Claims of Supplier Pollution in China

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reports that an Institute of Public & Environmental Affairs (IPE) report has criticised US technology company Apple for using suppliers with public records of environmental violations and contributing to China’s systemic pollution. IPE director Ma Jun reportedly said that the IPE has discovered polluted water and has received reports of hazardous gas in residential areas surrounding plants believed to be connected to Apple. According to the WSJ, a previous IPE report in January 2011 had raised similar concerns about technology companies’ pollution, but the most recent report focuses on Apple because unlike other technology companies, Apple has been unwilling to discuss the issue with the IPE.

Mr MA reportedly said that Apple had responded on the eve of the most recent report’s release, claiming that several of the named manufacturers were not in Apple’s supply chain. Whilst refusing to comment in detail, Apple spokesperson Carolyn Wu reportedly said that the company “is committed to driving the highest standards of social responsibility” and required its suppliers to “use environmentally responsible manufacturing processes”.
WSJ: Apple Faces Environmental Criticism in China Over Supplier Plants (1 September 2011)
(Source: WSJ)

Logistics Companies Profit From e-Waste

The Guardian reports that logistics companies UPS, FedEx, and DHL have not only taken advantage of the surge in online sales by managing their customers’ supply chains to reduce excess fuel and packaging, but have also succeeded in finding innovative ways to deal with consequential electronic waste (e-waste). UPS has reportedly recycled almost 13.6 million kilograms of e-waste since 2000, extending the program to accept e-waste back through the supply chain. This reportedly includes a service that repairs damaged laptops for iToshiba customers. FedEx have reportedly developed e-waste and cartridge collection facilities across the US, collecting more than 907,000 kilograms of e-waste in 2009 alone. In the UK, DHL’s EnviroSolutions division reportedly provides e-waste services to government and business customers.

According to The Guardian, the value in recycling the increasingly scarce and expensive rare earth minerals, plastics and metals in e-waste is enough reason to drive a behavioural change that would see the costs of this recycling decrease over time.
The Guardian: Logistics companies lend hand to customers’ e-waste initiatives (23 August 2011)
(Source: The Guardian)

Culture of Outrageous Misbehaviour Alleged at Microsoft

The Age reports that former UK Microsoft management employee Simon Negus has accused Microsoft of having a culture of ”excessive drunkenness” and “outrageous misbehaviour”. The allegations were reportedly raised in the course of a £10 million lawsuit against the company for unfair dismissal, lost earnings and harassment.

Mr Negus was reportedly dismissed in 2009 after allegedly behaving inappropriately towards three female colleagues at a company party. According to the Age, Microsoft have sued Mr Negus for the return of a £225,000 starting bonus, whilst Mr Negus has counter sued alleging his dismissal was a “boardroom ambush”.

Mr Negus has reportedly described the company party as a conference fuelled by “unlimited quantities” of alcohol, alleging that many of the company directors behaved inappropriately.
The Age: ‘Outrageous misbehaviour’: Microsoft court case gets messy (2 September 2011)
(Source: The Age)