Tuesday, March 26, 2013

My Experience At An Ethics Centre Meeting and What I Learned.

      I woke up on the morning of February 5 extremely excited. Not only was I going to go an Ethics Centre meeting at The Albany Club in Toronto, I got to take the GO Train there. Trains are fun for me and I get excited at the process of moving forward while sitting backwards. I did my best to put together a decent outfit from the few professional looking articles of clothing that I own. A pair of black pants, a pink blouse and a brown blazer; Perfect. After a short drive to the GO Station my journey could finally begin.
       Exiting Union Station was absolutely terrifying for a country kid. I was getting swept along with the crowd before I had the opportunity to read the signs. I ended up finding a door with a bright red “EXIT” over head, I saw sunlight and moved towards freedom. Once outside I was prepared with an address in one hand and Google Maps on my phone in the other. I only walked in the wrong direction for about three blocks before the little dot on my screen alerted me that I was going the wrong way.
The Albany Club, 91 King Street East, Toronto
When I finally arrived I had the uncontrollable feeling of a child at a grown-up party. The dark wood walls, deep red carpet and lit fireplaces. It was a little more than intimidating, the fear of saying something silly or juvenile and embarrassing my school or myself was overwhelming.
       I attempted to hide my fear that I’m sure was displayed quite simply on my face, and tried my best to look like a grown-up. As they say: When in Rome, do as the Romans do. So I shook hands, introduced myself and picked up the correct nametag, eventually making my way to sit in my assigned seat for lunch. My mind raced with all the etiquette my mother had taught me as a child, sit up straight, chew with your mouth closed, and start with the fork on the outside. The food was absolutely delicious, considering my college-student budget most meals typically consist of mac-an-cheese, so I was just glad to get a decent meal.
      I stumbled through a discussion about my program, things about Fleming College and eventually the weather. I was looking forward to the moment when the speaker would begin and the awkward silences would end. Luckily it didn’t take very long for the speaker to begin and for me to remember why I was there in the first place.
      David Anderson was announced as the guest speaker, he serves as a board and CEO advisor for different public, crown and private organizations. I had never heard of him before now, and I was kicking myself for not being better prepared.

David W.Anderson
Founder and CEO of The Anderson Governance Group     
The topic of his discussion;
Governance of corporate boards

       I didn’t have much of a knowledge base for how corporations were run, but somewhere in the back of my brain it told me that boards were the group of people who made decisions for the corporation, and I hoped that I was right.
       David began by speaking about the importance of setting up a framework of goals then having the positive leader in order to accomplish these goals.  He spoke about how having a positive leader as well as accomplishing business in a positive way can avoid negative social, environmental, or cultural consequences. I had to agree with him on this, having someone in power that is considerate to the external factors of business is important. Someone who is able to set goals encompassing different social factors, environmental factors, as well as cultural factors would aid significantly in more sustainable business practices.
      He added that boards need to have a level of self-governance and accountability. Someone needs to be held responsible, due to the fact that un-governed power can so easily lead to corruption. It is important to find the balance of freedom and constraint that allows for sustainability as well as ethical business decision making.
      David offered a few solutions to the issue of corporate governance and how to implement strategies while keeping in mind the social influences within the dynamics of board members, also that without external input or scrutiny it is possible for the credibility of decision making to suffer. He suggested that expanding the roll of the shareholders to motivate as well as take power from the board to keep a better eye on decision-making. As well as listen to those who will be affected by your decision, because people are no longer afraid to speak up.
       I found the topic of corporate governance very interesting. I agreed with everything that David spoke about but felt as if some of it should be common sense; to welcome input and scrutiny, to distribute governance and power, and improve accountability by possibly requiring reports on consequences from decisions made. All valuable pieces of advice that I feel like should already be in place in business. As we moved through the discussion I remember finding it odd the number of people who seemed to disagree with him, talking about additional costs as well as screening within the hiring process.
       One lady in the crowd mentioned that if boards were to advertise job listings publicly in order to find the right positive leader, they would have to deal with numerous female applicants. Would the ‘old boys club’ be willing to make way for positive leaders that are women? She got no answer, just laughter and agreement from the crowd. But it left me wondering the limitations that I will still need to face as a business woman in a world still run by men.
      As the discussion came to a close and David departed, I was left feeling slightly more confident in my presence at that meeting. I had followed the discussion, and I believe that I understood most of it, I even felt as though I had learned something. As I collected my coat and thanked the hosts for having me, I felt a little more grown-up and a little less afraid to say something silly.  Heading out onto the streets of Toronto seemed a little less daunting, as I made my way to Union Station looking forward to the train ride home where I would get to move forward while sitting backwards.


Teacher Fired For Pictures On Facebook.

        Ashley Payne was with her friends during the holidays when someone took a picture of her holding a glass of wine in one hand and a beer in the other. This picture was posted to social media under her personal Facebook account.
This photo was added to Ashley Payne's Facebook
account during her trip to Europe in 2009
        It was the one anonymous email showing this image to the school board after seeing the picture on a social networking site. The principals response was calling Mrs. Payne her into his office at the high school and asking her if she had a Facebook page. When she responded yes he asked if she had any pictures of herself holding alcohol, the answer again was yes.

      It was then Mrs. Payne was offered two options to resign from a post or to be suspended.

She chose to resign.

       Mrs. Payne admits to putting the pictures on Facebook. She feels that since her page was fully protected, one of her closest friends would be the only ones who had permission to see her pictures. She compared the situation to having pictures at home in a shoebox, only to have them stolen then shown to the principal.

       Ashley refuses to take the situation lying down, though court documents show that officials have warned teachers about unacceptable online activities. The school board is now using this in defense of their actions, claiming that her page promoted alcohol use and contains profanity.

        Mrs. Payne is currently in a bitter legal battle with the school. She now wants to clear her name and get her job back. Her statement is “I just want to be back in the classroom, If not that classroom, a classroom. I want to get back to doing what I went to school for, my passion in life.
I chose this case to begin with because I personally find it particularly disturbing. With my sister recently beginning her career as a teacher it is easy for me to relate to Ashley Payne, and imagine the situation from her perspective.

I disagree with the school board for multiple different reasons.
       Firstly, we live in a digital world. Majority of the day-to-day happenings of life are shared on the internet with friends and family. A constant sharing of experiences and keeping in touch with those most important to us. Ashley Payne was a part of this with her Facebook page, and was aware that those pictures posted of her were to be shared with friends and family so they could enjoy witnessing her trip through Europe. That being said, Ashley Payne has stated that all of her security settings were on the highest possible setting to prevent anyone except friends and family to see her photos. Though, as we are all aware, this did not keep them from being found. Somehow, one anonymous parent did enough digging on the internet to find these pictures and bring them to the principals’ attention. What drove this parent to do so is unknown, though it is safe to say they did not have Mrs. Payne’s best interests at heart. Due to the anonymity of the individual who reported the photo it is un-clear of the effectiveness of Mrs. Payne’s' security settings. This individual could in fact be one of her Facebook friends who wanted to embarrass her or stain her reputation, or a parent with the same motive.
       Secondly, the school board maintains that they were protecting the students from promoting alcohol and profanity. However I believe it is safe to say that the students would never have come in contact with the photo of Mrs. Payne holding alcohol, if the school had not brought it to their attention.
To that point, are there not degrees of profanity and alcohol usage? In Mrs. Payne’s photos from a trip to Europe there is no sign of illegal substances or of her intoxicated. All photos are of Mrs. Payne enjoying her trip, with an alcoholic beverage in hand, completely in control of herself. Mrs. Payne’s lawyer Richard Storrs said 'It would be like I went to a restaurant and I saw my daughter's teacher sitting there with her husband having a glass of some kind of liquid. You know, is that frowned upon by the school board? Is that illegal? Is that improper? Of course not. It's the same situation in this case.'
       Thirdly, I completely disagree with the way the school board handled the situation. They dismissed Ashley Payne before she had the opportunity to defend herself, or even see the photos in question. She was treated as though she conducted some awful crime or drug abuse when in fact the issue was her having an alcoholic beverage in her hand while on vacation. My personal irritation comes from the fact that the school board was so quickly willing to destroy the career of a 24 year old teacher for the sake of an anonymous disgruntled parent, who seemingly does not feel strongly about wanting the dismissal due to the fact they have remained anonymous and haven’t spoken publicly about the issue.
Ashley has been able to reach out to news stations,
to share her story and gain public interest.
       Luckily for Ashley the media has picked up her story and she has been able to go on news stations to try to get some public backlash to help defend herself. I wish her the best of luck because I unfortunately believe that she is being made an example of for young adults who are entering the workforce. This example is to maintain the image of your employer, including the time spent on social media sites that are meant for personal use and sharing life with friends and family. These sites are being abused by employers to take privacy away from employees, turning personal time into un-paid work time, and it should not be allowed to continue.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Enviornmental management system

Environmental Management System:
An environmental management system is a very good structured design to help organize a corporation environmental effect caused due to their products and services provided. Corporate social responsibilities and environmental management provides a realistic source for the ever increasing number of organizations involved about social and environmental obligations in the perspective of maintainable growth and are interested in creating resources to improve their performance and responsibility in these areas. It motivates discussion over the growth of problems as well as tracking the requirements being made of various stakeholder categories. It’s about the problems of technique, concepts, practice, technology, technology and law.
CSR and ecological control are becoming key issues for a variety of companies and organizations. It motivates the growth as well as tracking the requirements being made of various stakeholder categories. An Environmental management motivates a company to consistently improve its ecological performance. The system follows a repeating cycle. The organization first commits to an ecological strategy, then uses its strategy as a basis for establishing which places goals for improving ecological performance. The next step is execution. After that the organization examines its ecological performance to see whether the goals are being met. If goals are not being met, helpful action is taken. The results of this valuation are then analyzed by top control to see if the EMS is working. Management revisits the ecological strategy and places new goals in an improved strategy. The organization then implements the improved strategy. The cycle repeat and continuous improvement occurs.
Due to a proper management we can actually reduce the carbon footprint and of the earth of the individual country for which the idea is followed. By this company also achieve a special position and respect in the market for their deeds.
Steps which we can follow to manage the environmental system:
Management must commit to achieve their goal.
Plan your EMS.
Simplify the aspects register.
Evaluate legal requirements.
Provide adequate resources to the management.
Set SMART goals.
Recognize the marketing benefits.


144+ Logos In One Day- Risa Bedard

When first given the assessment plan I was not sure what I wanted to do. Driving to school one day I was looking out the window and started wondering how many logos I was seeing. There were so many companies trying to get me to use their product or visit their restaurant or shop at their store. It got me thinking about how logos everyone sees in a day. I decided to take a whorl at it and see how many logos I see in one day. I chose to take pictures of all the logos that I saw for one day. Little did I know how challenging this task actually would be. 

Before the day came for me to take all the pictures I began to make myself aware of the different logos that I 
was seeing on a daily basis. I did not realize how many there were that I would see. There were some that I was able to take my time and examine but there were others that I just saw for a split second.

Walking down Lansdowne Street was like being pulled in 20 different directions.  I saw so many logos that they were hard to keep track of. It almost feels like companies are trying to shove themselves into our brains. How much is too much? At what point do we stop looking at logos because they are all we see?

Check out my Logo Glog with all the pictures of logos I took. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

What CSR Means for Consumers and Employees

What CSR Means for Consumers and Employees


Corporate Social Responsibility has become an integral business practice for countries around the world and consumer awareness is growing steadily. Corporations are no longer only driven by money but also by ethically meeting the needs of consumers and the communities in which consumers live and where the corporation operates. Consumers are now able to research corporations and are typically made aware of which companies in particular use unethical practices, in turn enabling consumers to make purchasing decisions based on this information they have. CSR gives consumers a new power to influence how corporations operate and ensure that they are meeting the ethical standards expected.


Corporate social responsibility has helped improve the working conditions for employees around the world, in turn helping increase job satisfaction. Corporations who have put a major focus on CSR are seeing a rise in both happiness within the company and even in sales, as a company that puts forth a strong commitment to CSR has a competitive advantage over that of a corporation that doesn’t. When people see how efficient and ethical businesses that put a great emphasis on CSR are it makes them want to work for such corporations, attracting stronger talent to the corporation and pleasing employees. CSR also helps employees feel a stronger sense of recognition and purpose within a corporation, thus giving them an extra incentive to perform at a higher level.

It can be seen that CSR is beneficial in several ways to both consumers and employees and as a result helping in many ways, such as, through the building of customer relations, promoting a more positive perception for a corporation and overall, assisting in how a corporation should operate.

By: Thomas Elliott

Consumer Demand Shapes CSR

Consumer Demand Shapes Corporate Social Responsibility

This post is in reference to an article I read by Geri Stengel and that article can be found at the following web address:

I strongly agree with Geri in her article “Consumer Demand Shapes Corporate Social Responsibility” as I too believe it is up to consumers to demand corporate responsibility from corporations who are providing goods and services. Consumers need to be aware of how their purchase decisions affect the global economy and by choosing to purchase products from businesses that promote ethical practices it can be seen that every little bit makes a difference.

As consumers we need to be more socially responsible and ensure that when making purchases that we are making mindful decisions. It is up to us to demand that ethical standards are being met by corporations and in turn increasing our overall demand for social responsibility and sustainability. It can already be seen that companies are putting more effort into promoting ethical practices within their businesses, as shown by several major corporations, such as Wal-Mart who now publish detailed sustainability and social responsibility reports. For the most part, individuals in today’s society make purchasing decisions based on price and simply aren’t aware of how or why some companies are able to offer goods for such low prices in the majority of circumstances.

I’m not saying that we all need to look at a company’s history and how certain products were produced before each and every time we make a purchasing decision, but when possible it is something that we all need to take in consideration. If we all do our part and promote ethical practices within businesses we will continue to see an improvement worldwide. In the end, we all need to help in any which way we can and not only talk about social good; we have to demand it.

By: Thomas Elliott

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Nike Sweatshops- Travis Taylor

Nike is a huge company that uses child and cheap labour in developing countries in order to make their products. It has been argued since the general public first found out about what Nike was doing overseas whether it is a positive or negative situation. Most of the public views what Nike is doing to be negative and that child and cheap labour overseas should not exist. On the other hand it is argued that its a positive for those that are working for Nike overseas because they have been given a job and a paycheck where otherwise they would not have one.

When we  watched the Nike case in class my mind was made up whether it was a positive or negative situation. The negative things that the "slaves" of Nike have to go through everyday vastly outweighs the positives in my mind. In the video we saw a day in the life of a Nike worker, when they show up to the plant you see that it is very dirty and very crowded. They get paid horrible wages for what they have to go through, most employees are picking up overtime in excess of working 60 hours a week. We got to see what there "houses" look like which are pretty much a 10 by 10 steel box with nothing in them. There is no furniture, no beds, and their toilets are pretty much a hole in the floor. When it rains there is no sewage system so the sewage washes up into the houses. Nike has confirmed that they do sometimes take physical action against their slaves, whether its kicking them for not quality work or tacking them to the ground when there is a confrontation at work. The only positive outcome of this situation is that they are receiving a pay check from Nike, which will buy maybe two meals a day. If you happen to get sick then you have to choose to either buy the medication and miss your meals or go without the medication and be able to eat for the day.

All in all I think that what Nike is doing when it comes to sweatshops is wrong. I think the situation will always be argued whether it is a positive or negative issue because both sides have an opinion and everyone views values differently.

Sobey's CSR- Travis Taylor

Sobeys is one of the biggest grocery store companies in Canada. They own several other stores that are not under the Sobeys name such as Price Choppers, IGA, Foodland, FreshCo and others. Sobeys prides themselves on being a "green" and environmentally friendly company. Sobeys has a program set in place to eliminate the plastic waste that is seen in other grocery stores. The program is called Green Bag for Life and they are reusable bags that you bring with you when you go grocery shopping and then you take them home and bring out the bags when you need them again. The price is very low for these reusable bags so customers are more apt to purchase them in order to help out the environment.

I work at a Sobeys store so I have seen first hand the work that they put into being sustainable and environmentally responsible. At my store, Sobeys recently changed all the lightbulbs in the store to energy efficient light bulbs which helps with lowering using so much energy which is good for the environment. Also at my store, we have a cardboard compactor which is where all the cardboard goes to be compacted down into a big block. Sobeys has plenty of cardboard waste so recycling the cardboard has a huge impact on the environment because all that cardboard is not being sent to landfills.

Since I started working at Sobeys I also seen some things that they can improve on to further their Sustainability and Environmentally responsible business practices. At my store there are recycling bins all around the store, some that are sorted with glass and plastic and some with paper. This seems like a good thing to do but at the end of the night the recycling all gets collected and thrown in the garbage. All that recyclable material is being sent to sit in landfills when it wont break down for 50 years.

Sobeys is a company that is trying to be "green" and Environmentally friendly, but they still have some work left to do.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Ethical Children's Books - Final Blog

Reflection on Ethical Children's Books Assignment 

It occurred to me one day while reading to my cousin that the books we choose to read to the younger generations could have such an impact on who they grow up to be, and we may not even realize it. So, over the course of the semester I have been digging back in to my childhood and recovering the long lost books that I came to love so much.
I have been writing blogs every Sunday night throughout the semester and each blog focuses on a specific children's book or fable that i have brought back from my past. My parents have told me that they tried to instill good morals on to my sister and I through reading us these books that we enjoyed so much, it was easier and more efficient then trying to sit us down and teach them to us. 
By doing these blogs I wanted to explore for myself more of what the moral or lesson in the book actually was, by doing research and exploring the books once again. 

There are so many good ethical books out there for kids that it was hard for me to pick only ten, but here is a few of the books that I covered:

The Lorax - Dr Suess
The Berenstain Bears and the In Crowd - Stan and Jan Berenstain

Me First - Ellen Ruden
Aesop's Fables - The Fox and the Goat
The Gruffalo - Julia Donaldson
and others. 

The ones that I decided to post about aren't ones that I portray as being the best morally driven books, they are just the ones that I remember making an impact on my childhood and who i grew up to be. 
While writing these blogs I tried to relate every book to a Corporate Social Responsibility aspect, making it more relevant to the course, and it was much easier then i had expected. 
When we look at big corporations, it seems like some of them have forgotten the very basic principles and morals that we were all taught as young kids, and it really is quite sad. 
The prime example of that I feel is NIKE Inc. It seems to me that Phil Knight has forgotten the golden rule, that is do on to others as you would want them to do on to you. I'm sure if Knight was in the position of a worker in one of his factories, he would not be doing what he is doing right now. Fairness and equality is something that we don't really see when it comes to the Nike corporation. 

In the end, I am happy with myself for deciding to do this sort of assignment for marks, it has brought back a lot of really good childhood memories, as well helped re-instill all of the morals and lessons that were so important to be learned as a kid, and I do not regret it. 

- Jenifer A. White

Market Manipulation

Market Manipulation

The day that Enron became officially bankrupt, its stock price had fallen from a high $90 in August of 2000 to a mere $0.61 in December of 2001. At one time one of the world’s largest energy companies, employing over 20,000 people, its quick downfall and unethical practices makes you think if they’re the only company doing this today. The head honchos of the company, Kenneth Lay, Jeffery Skilling, and Andrew Fasthow were all able to manipulate and hide billions of dollars’ worth of failed projects while saying that the company was continuing to grow, making sure that investors didn’t shy away.

Many people believed before this happened that Enron was one of the best run corporations in America and that’s why there was so much investment lost once they went under. Shareholders lost approximately 11 billion dollars in the collapse, and since they have barely been reimbursed any of that lost money. Those poor people, who invested their livelihoods and maybe had their retirement funds, were just taken away like that. They get nothing in return, and now have the pay the consequences of something that they had no control over.

Many other companies more recently have had the same effect on the people, the financial crisis of 2008 was because many major American companies. Companies like the Lehman Brothers and Goldman Sachs were both guilty of fraud and went bankrupt because of their malpractices when dealing with mortgages and accounting. Those companies were then required to take all the houses they owned, and they literally took the houses out of regular people’s hands and made them homeless. The people who owned the houses, or were working to pay them off now had nothing to show for it. These companies made thousands of regular people hard working people now barely on the cusp of homelessness.

It makes me think that the world we live in today is based way too much on the pyramid scheme. People at the top of that pyramid have way too much of a say and power over the regular, blue collard worker who make up the majority of the population. These companies had such a impact that it caused a depression In the economy, regardless of the industry. Way too many people were losing their jobs and its causing the government to put all its time and money into trying to fix a problem, and not into other more important things like research or education.

Friday, March 15, 2013

The Space Shuttle Challenger Case

The Space Shuttle Challenger – Ryan Lane
            After reading over a few of the cases we have looked at in this class the one that really stood out to me was the case about the Challenger. The shuttle exploded 73 seconds after liftoff and all 7 members of the crew were killed.  It was discovered that the reason the shuttle exploded was because of a burn through the O-ring sealing two sections of the solid rocket booster. 

            The night before the launch the engineers were very opposed to launching this shuttle because they knew the low temperatures would cause the O-ring seal to fail. Memos were written by engineers working for Thiokel stating that this O-ring is extremely unsafe and that they highly recommend not launching. Thiokel engineers brought their concern to NASA, who eventually decided to go ahead with the launch. The engineers were overruled by their managers and they signed off on the launch. Well, we all know what happens next…..

            What really bothers me about this is that NASA knew how dangerous this launch would be and still went ahead with it. The engineers also knew how much of a risk this launch was and still let NASA tell them what to do. Do the people at NASA, apparently the smartest people in the world, have no morals at all? They used the crew members lives as pawn pieces in a mission they felt they had put way too much time and money into to take a little longer into fixing the problem with the shuttle. I really wonder what the crew member families thought when the reports of this surfaced. Giving the families money does not buy their loved ones life back and it really is a shame that NASA is still a respected organization after hearing about this. Sending people into space is already dangerous enough, but sending people into space knowing that the shuttle could be faulty? Crazy if you ask me.