Monday, January 14, 2008

Certifying Ethical Companies

The following is the introduction to a speech I'm giving tomorrow, entitled "The Socially Conscious Enterprise."

The day of the greedy corporation is coming to an end. Businesses across the country and in many parts of the world are coming to see that, while profits are essential to their success, profit alone does not justify an organization's existence.

Market forces are shaping this shift in corporate values. Study after study show that employees flock to companies that are morally responsible: take Google, with its motto, "Don't be evil," as an example of this movement. While many firms are fighting to attract employees of even modest skill, Google and other ethical companies have a line of highly-qualified applicants that is miles long. Clearly, we are not just working for a paycheck anymore.

To attract the highest-caliber workers, and to appeal to consumers who likewise often choose based on a company's ethics, corporations are giving more to charity, encouraging their workers to volunteer, and are even taking initiatives such as green building buying fair trade-certified goods where no law says they must.

In order to recognize companies that are doing the right thing, The Naples Institute has established a certification for what it dubs Socially Conscious Enterprises. This certification will be to philanthropy what the Good Housekeeping Seal is to quality consumer products.

To speak about Socially Conscious Enterprises, let me introduce Ted Coiné, co-founder of The Naples Institute, a think tank dedicated to fighting for social justice.