Tag Archives: business ethics

The Four Seasons: Inequality in Luxury Hotels


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 addscq5dam.web.1280.720 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?

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INSITE: A Consequential Problem or the Ethical Solution?


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?

Just Think About It! Utilitarian Ethics Behind Nike’s Questionable Corporate Comeback


The Facts

Just Sew It! Oops… I mean Do It! This Nike phrase along with their iconic swoosh logo is recognizable all over the world. In the past ten years, their stock price has risen 124%.[1] They earned the number one spot in the apparel and accessories sector in performance rankings. In 2013, Nike placed 22nd in CR Magazine’s 100 Best Corporate Citizens list, which recognizes elite performance of US public companies and was simultaneously named America’s Most Innovative Company.[2] Yet they’ve also faced vicious criticism since the 1980s about horrific sweatshop conditions in their supply chain in addition to abuse and violation of factory workers’ rights. When the criticism started getting heavier and heavier, with increased public outcry, Nike launched a campaign to reverse their image and fix this flaw. This was the start of an incredible comeback for a company that had college campuses protesting across the country. But despite their comeback, the same allegations kept coming up. How does it make sense that Nike was able to turn itself around? Continue reading Just Think About It! Utilitarian Ethics Behind Nike’s Questionable Corporate Comeback

The Company the World Needs: Monsanto


As the world nears a population of 9.5 billion people by the year 2050 and the world’s climate continues to become more volatile, Monsanto aims to work with farmers in the long run to ensure that the world’s resources are used as efficiently and effectively as possible in order to feed the world. Although Monsanto’s work in the agriculture industry has been important to the industry’s growth and success, there are ethical dilemmas surrounding Monsanto’s business practices and safety of its products. These ethical issues include mistreatment of farmers through investigations into saving seed and possible safety concerns surrounding herbicides and genetically modified seeds. This paper is an analysis of these two ethical dilemmas, setting aside the larger factors and implications of government and policy. These two ethical dilemmas bring about an important conversation, but when speaking about feeding the world, I argue the consequentialist view is more realistic than the deontologist view.

Continue reading The Company the World Needs: Monsanto

Perceived Paper 2 Parallels


On the heels of writing Paper 2, I found Jason McLennan’s talk about sustainability very intriguing. Basically, my paper outlines the ways in which Patagonia has committed to maintaining environmentally friendly and sustainable business practices, and explores them through a deontological approach to ethics. I talk a lot about the CEO, Yvon Chouinard, and not only the great vision he had for his company, but his unwavering determination to make his dreams a reality. Though it was only once a small company of only a few climbing buddies, Patagonia is one of the most successful outdoor apparel suppliers in the industry today.

I bring up Yvon Chouinard again because of the similarities I feel he shares with Jason McLennan. Continue reading Perceived Paper 2 Parallels

Patagonia and B-Corps


If you’ve been outside on a cold day at Bucknell, you are familiar with the Patagonia brand. Their high quality, high performance, and fashionable winter-wear has made the company a global leader in the outdoor apparel industry. Shockingly, Patagonia has been able to achieve such distinction despite its certification as a benefit corporation or, B-Corporation. This means that that it is committed to using its power as a corporation to benefit the environment. A short video on B-Corps can be seen below: Continue reading Patagonia and B-Corps

2.3 Miles Makes a Giant Difference


Fortune 500 and nationally-known companies are not the only ones who face ethical dilemmas in their decisions. Smaller and lesser-known companies also grapple with the ethical implications of both their day-day and long-term decision-making. In my Paper 2, I will take a look at the strategic decisions behind local grocery store chain, Giant Foods. In this blog post I will give a summarized version of the case and a glossed over version of the results (sort of spoiler alert but not really). Fortunately for me, my dad has a management position in Giant, so most of the information in this post is from using him as a source.

On October 10, 2014, Giant Foods opened its new store located just off of I-81 and Wertzville Road in Enola, Pennsylvania.  A few weeks previous, Giant closed its long-time successful store 2.3 miles away on Wertzville Road located in Pennsboro Commons Shopping Center.

Giant has owned the leasing rights to the land for the new store for ten years.  Approximately three years ago, the real estate developer for the land told Giant that they must do something to develop the land or else they would not be able to renew their lease for the 25-30 acre plot.  Giant was only holding the land to prevent competitors like Wegmans from entering the market, but now they were faced with a difficult decision. It was clear that Giant needed to build a new store on this plot of land, but what should they do with the existing Enola store?

Closing the old Enola store would be a significant blow to the community. That store is the heart of Pennsboro Commons, a shopping center that only exists because of the large number of customers in which Giant brings. The 2.3 miles to the new Giant would be a way bigger issue than most would think. The communities between these two areas are very different, and even more importantly, while the new Giant was technically still in Enola, it now resided in Hampden Township as opposed to the old store which was in East Pennsboro Township.  This was a major loss of tax dollars for East Pennsboro Township.

Giant’s accounting and real estate teams crunched the numbers of their ROI figures and determined that opening a new store at the new location would increase sales because they would have a new facility, closer location to the highway, and closer vicinity to the technology parkway (new local medical and corporate centers).  They also determined that there was no way to keep both stores open; especially since the majority of existing customers would simple drive 2.3 miles to the new store. Spoiler: They were wrong. Old customers were not willing to travel to the new store, and the new customers did not care for the new store. Sales figures missed projections badly (stay tuned for exact figures in Paper 2).

Giant was fully aware of the negative implications that closing the old store would have on East Pennsboro Township. They could have tried to make a compromising plan to appease the community but instead they went with the plan for most profit. Ironically, the strategy did not go as planned and Giant is left with an angry community and a less profitable store. Below are pictures from Google Images of the Pennsboro Commons shopping center layout and a picture of what the parking lot looks like before and after Giant closed its doors.

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The company the world needs. But the company the world deserves?


As the world nears a population of 9.5 billion people by the year 2050 and the world’s climate continues to become more volatile, Monsanto will work to provide the necessary resources to feed the world’s population. Monsanto is an industry leader in agriculture as it produces products in two segments: Seeds and Genomics, and Agricultural Productivity. The company has over 21,000 employees in facilities in sixty-six countries. In the Seeds and Genomics Segment, Monsanto researches, develops and sells normal seeds for crops like corn and soybeans as well as genetically modified seeds (GMOs) that incorporate certain traits in a seed to help the crop flourish. In the Agricultural Productivity Segment, Monsanto produces and sells chemicals like herbicides to its customers.

Continue reading The company the world needs. But the company the world deserves?

Purpose-Based or Purpose-Faced?


If you have driven down Route 15 in the last year, I am sure you have stopped by Panera Bread for a delicious sandwich, soup, or salad. As someone who has certainly done this a few times, I am always astonished by the speed at which they can deliver their freshly made food. It is a unique quality I attribute to Panera and part of the reason I am a returning customer. In marketing terms, I would say I appreciate that the company and I share the values of time and quality.

In today’s increasingly informed and transparent world, however, this simple connection is not enough. Should I find out that Panera’s speed and freshness come at the cost of harming the environment, Continue reading Purpose-Based or Purpose-Faced?

What’s in your wallet (that you aren’t telling us about)?


Capital One is ranked 91 on Fortune 100’s best companies to work for list. I actually applied for a position at this company. I was intrigued by the fact that they are in the banking industry, but they do not have a banking culture. They place a high emphasis on having an entrepreneurial culture; using their vast amount of consumer data to improve customer experiences; and being on the cutting edge of the digital revolution. When researching Capital One, I found a lot of evidence pointing to their strong ethics as a company, but also a few events that painted a picture of less than ethical decision making practices. Continue reading What’s in your wallet (that you aren’t telling us about)?