The World Cup has continuously been the one of the greatest sporting spectacles to bless nations across the world. I say “bless” because for most nations around the world soccer is more than just a sport. In John Oliver’s YouTube spoof of the World Cup in Brazil, a Brazilian woman discusses how soccer truly is a religion. This highly anticipated event, occurring only once every four years, attempts to unify each nation under the religion of soccer. Unfortunately, over the past decade the World Cup has become shrouded in controversy. Why would such an amazing event with the goal of unifying nations become subject to alleged criticism? Simple, the World Cup is run by a corrupt international civil society organization called the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA).
Chemical fertilizers, E.coli, mono-cropping, fast-food restaurants, unethical treatment of animals, high fructose corn syrup, natural, genetically modified, Monsanto, Tyson, exploitation of small farmers, obesity, diabetes, food safety… These are some of the words that accurately describe the current state of the food industry in the United States. There are a handful of big suppliers, who control the majority of the food system, who use highly mechanized processes to produce food that contains chemicals. Small scale farmers are forced to go out of business since they can’t compete with the massive multinational corporations, the dollar menu at McDonalds is cheaper than buying vegetables, and diabetes in the US is at an all-time high (Clemens). As more and more of the hidden costs of how agribusinesses work start to surface, the amount of people who question these methods start to increase. One of these people is Will Allen, who is the founder and owner of the non-profit organization Growing Power Inc. Allen is trying “to create an alternative to the nation’s centralized food system by teaching people how to grow food, cook food and embrace a way of living that’s sustainable.” (Allen, xiii) This paper will look at the actions of Growing Power Inc. through the lenses of consequentialism and evaluate this viewpoint in terms of its sufficiency to explain the situation. Continue reading The Growing Power of Urban Agriculture
Chipotle and the Ethical Burrito
Chipotle opened its first store in 1993 and has seen astonishing growth and financial success since going public in 2006. Chipotle has been one of the industry’s leaders in serving sustainable food. It is trying to change the way people think about and eat fast-food. It has recently been marketing its commitment to serving high-quality and sustainable ingredients through various media outlets and programs. Despite being considered an industry leader in sustainability, Chipotle’s advertisement and practices have been criticized for being unethical and misleading to customers. The ethics of its advertisement and practices have been questioned, but nevertheless, Chipotle is shining the necessary light into the problems of the farming and agriculture industry. Chipotle is making consumers more aware and conscious about what they are eating. Even if not all of Chipotles practices are completely ethical or sustainable, it is setting an example that other companies in the industry can follow.
Many retail companies are not known for outstanding treatment of their employees. In more recent years, the media has delivered news stories with companies involved in lawsuits over wage inequalities, discrimination, or poor labor conditions. The retail industry in particular has been receiving a lot of criticism. One think tank recently published a report which states:
Retail is far from the only low-paying sector of the American economy, yet … [it is] one projected to add a substantial number of new jobs over the coming decade, [so] the choices the nation’s major retailers make about employment will play a crucial role in determining the nation’s economic future. (Resnikoff)
While very recent press has indicated retail companies such as Target, Wal-Mart, and T.J. Maxx may increase employee wages slightly in the near future, there are also companies who do not receive considerable media attention but who have, from their very founding, held higher standards regarding treatment of their employees. One such company is The Container Store (TCS). From its website, to its blog, to newspaper articles, books, YouTube videos, and more, The Container Store makes it clear that it aims for a business model encompassing all stakeholders, but employees in particular. In this paper, I will evaluate how the company has upheld this employee-centered model and determine whether it can be considered an ethical company through Immanuel Kant’s ethical theories. Continue reading The Container Store: Stacking Up Ethically
Warby Parker is a fashion company. They specialize in low-cost, designer quality eye glasses. Their name was inspired by two characters in a Jack Kerouac novel. Their glasses are available online and individually tailored to the customer. Their main aim is to be trendy. They also happen to be good. Warby Parker executes a largely unadvertised buy-one, give-one strategy. For every pair of glasses sold, a pair of glasses is donated to a person in need. Warby Parker comes across as a company that genuinely believes in doing good. My analysis of Warby Parker covers their charitable arms, how they manage to stay competitive, and their corporate strategy.
Through VisionSpring, Warby Parker has focused on glasses to underprivileged areas, the actual location varies based on demand. They are committed to this particular charity because they have the means and expertise but also because, 703 million people worldwide currently do not have access to eye care. Glasses have been shown to increase productivity by 35% and income by 20%. These statistics reaffirm the justice of Warby Parker’s approach.
As tourists walk across the Széchenyi Lánchíd Chain Bridge in Budapest, Hungary, they approach the stunning Gresham Palace. The Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace obtains a remarkable site due to the panoramic view of the famous Danube River, Buda Castle, and Fisherman’s Bastion from the front rooms of the hotel. As you enter this Four Seasons, your eye is drawn towards a glass atrium leading up to the front desk. A crystal chandelier is in the center of this atrium and further adds to the grand interior architecture and design of the hotel. After having the opportunity to walk through the Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace and stay in the Four Seasons Firenze, I understood why this hotel chain is one of the most well known in the world. The Four Seasons brand is one of luxury and is a part of one of the most influential industries in the world: hospitality. However, even though this hotel chain is luxurious for customers, the hospitality industry the Four Seasons falls into entails poor employee wages, high employee turnover, and lack of stability. Furthermore, this industry has created mass tourism leading to social discrepancies, economic dependencies, and weakened culture. Thus, is the Four Seasons Hotel Chain ethical for partaking in an industry that has led to such problems? Should the Four Seasons shift their attention from customers to employees in order to address industry concerns?
Uber is a company that has taken new technological developments and used them to create a superior service within the transportation industry amid the changing sociocultural influences of today’s societies. In their strategies to align stakeholder interests and expand into new territories, Uber has instigated some public concern about their operations, but has overall set the company up with the potential to provide a great value to society. In addition to providing an explanation of why Uber has been valued so highly in the eyes of investors and the admiring public, my analysis of Uber will look at whether the company is providing sufficient benefits to outweigh its downsides on the basis of consequential ethics. As a user of Uber’s App myself, the analysis will provide a foundation for Uber customers to decide whether this is a company worthy of our business.
Our world moves exponentially faster today than it ever has before. Utilizing incredible advancements in technology, we have been able to revolutionize the ways we live, communicate, and conduct business. Corporations, many of which began as very small operations, now control billions of dollars and employ thousands of workers all across the globe. Unfortunately, our consumption-based culture has created an artificial “environment” that exists within the greater ecosystem of our planet. For it to thrive, we rely the natural world to supply these corporations with raw materials, which are later converted into consumable products often at the lowest possible cost. Sadly, these gifts are discarded back into the environment as waste, resulting in the unprecedented levels of pollution we experience today. Our current technological capabilities have facilitated this process, and have become one of the greatest threats to the health of our planet. However, one might ask, is it possible that these immensely powerful corporations could utilize their resources to help establish a respect for the natural world from which we have grown so distant? In the following paper I will prove that Patagonia is a corporation that does not only compete at the highest level in its industry, but remains committed to environmentally responsible business practices. Using the Kantian approach to ethics known as deontology, I will evaluate Patagonia’s business activities and demonstrate how a focus on sustainability can simultaneously benefit both the natural world and a company’s bottom line. Continue reading Patagonia: An Exemplar of Deontology
The war on drugs is surrounded in controversy from drug-control policy and recreational drug use to treatment of addicts and rising healthcare costs. Most countries have strict zero tolerance policies with society’s support – deeming the subject taboo and unethical, drugs as evil, and addicts as “bad” people. Canada as taken alternative measures in Vancouver’s Downtown East, which had “astronomical levels of HIV and drug overdose.” INSITE is a legal, supervised injection site offering a safe environment to use illicit drugs and to connect with healthcare services. The Canadian facility allows drug users to shoot-up safely without fear of arrest and with on-site medical assistant. The government-funded injection site is the only facility of its kind in North America. There is sufficient evidence that INSITE has public health benefits by lowering HIV and AIDS rates, but the subject is still controversial. Critiques argue harm reduction practices encourage drug users, perpetuate a problem, and give the “green light” on illicit drug use. Advocates claims INSITE saves lives, reconnects marginalized drug addicts with the community, has financial benefits to healthcare costs, and is overall beneficial to society. In first applying consequentialism to INSITE, it is clear the facility provides public health benefits for the larger community. When delving deeper, one must ask who are the beneficiaries of INSITE? Do harm reduction programs really help addicts or the general public? Is the action of opening INSITE causing unintended consequences? This paper will seek to understand INSITE and the consequential ethics behind it. Continue reading INSITE: A Consequential Problem or the Ethical Solution?
“We don’t hire people to bake brownies; we bake brownies to hire people.” –Greyston
She is left Haiti as a child at the age of 11 and became a homeless teenage mother at 14. Her pregnancy influenced her to leave school and not pursue any further education. She applied for employment, but unfortunately was turned away and told to keep in touch. She was persistent and got in touch daily, which landed her a one-week opportunity. Now, Dieulane Philogene works in accounting at Greyston Bakery with a stable home for herself and two children. She took ownership in paving her own path.
In our society finding employment is difficult enough alone, but even more difficult for those who have little to no work experience and histories of homelessness, incarceration, substance abuse, and/or illiteracy. The media frequently portrays people, like Dieulane Philogene, who have these past histories as lazy, dependent, alcoholics and drug abusers. Continue reading Bakers on a Mission: Greyston Bakery