Tag Archives: Ethics

Chipotle and its quest for sustainable food


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 and promoting sustainable food. Its high-quality natural food has given it a competitive advantage over competitors in a market that is increasingly becoming more conscious about what they eat. Chipotle has a mission of serving “Food with Integrity” to its customers. Chipotle is committed to finding the very best ingredients raised with respect for animals, the environment, and farmers. Chipotle brands its meats as naturally, or “Responsibly“ raised, which entails treating animals humanely without the use of antibiotics or added hormones. Many of its other ingredients are organic and do not contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Chipotle has been considered a pioneer in creating and promoting sustainable food chains. Despite its measured success in its food sourcing, Chipotle has been unethical within some of the social aspects of the supply chain, most notably its policies towards its employees. Chipotle has had problems with its hiring process as it is still being investigated over hiring illegal and undocumented workers. They also have several pending class action lawsuits from employees who are systematically unpaid for overtime hours as a result of Chipotle’s policies and practices. Chipotle needs to address these policies in order to have a sustainable food chain, which not only involves the food it serves, but the people serving it. Chipotle has an opportunity to change the industry to become more sustainable. Chipotle raises awareness about the problems within the food industry through advertisement campaigns. These advertisements can help change consumer behaviors to demand more sustainable foods, which will in turn force other restaurants to provide sustainable foods in order to meet this demand. Chipotle and sustainable suppliers can also use their relative competitive advantage to further influence competitors to become sustainable. This will create a market in which more sustainable suppliers are available, which will drive food prices down and quality standards higher. This will create a cycle in which sustainable food chains take over the existing marketplace.

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Taking the voluntary out of volunteering


Volunteering is generally considered an altruistic activity and is intended to promote goodness or improve human quality of life. In return, this activity can produce a feeling of self-worth and respect. There is no financial gain involved for the individual. Volunteering is also renowned for skill development, socialization, and fun. Volunteering may have positive benefits for the volunteer as well as for the person or community served.

When is the last time you volunteered to do something? When is the last time you volunteered to do community service hours? Did you truly do it voluntarily or did you do it involuntarily to meet the service hours for your greek organization or an outstanding citation? I have a sense that most of us millennials, I know there are a lot of exceptions, are part of the group that need an outside force or motive to get us to do any sort of volunteer task. I get the sense that most of my generation does volunteering not out of the kindness of their heart, but rather out of self-interests such as meeting hour requirements for organizations or adding it to a resume to improve how people perceive them. However, I also know there are countless of examples of the opposite. These are people who do genuinely do it voluntarily and do not want any sort of personal gains. Unfortunately, this is not majority. But what if we could have these kind of people be the majority instead of the minority? What would that take? Is the only way to get people to volunteer by requiring it? Doesn’t that defeat the true nature of volunteering?

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Enjoy your Meal Mrs. Miller!


When I was in third grade, we would start off every math class with what was called a “white board challenge.” We would all have little personal dry erase boards, and our teacher, Mrs. Miller, asked a few simple math questions that we would answer on our white boards. Our answers weren’t really graded per say (do third graders even get grades?), but she would make a point of walking around the room to look at who was getting the answers right and who was getting them wrong. Now I was by no means a math genius, not even by third grade standards. I’d consider myself to be in the middle of the pack- not showing off, not falling behind. I always enjoyed the white board challenges regardless, partially because white boards were fun to play with as a third grader (or maybe I just matured late), and partly because it made math… well not fun, but certainly more bearable. Unfortunately, after an incident occurring only a few months into the school year that all changed.  Continue reading Enjoy your Meal Mrs. Miller!

3-D Food Printers: A Delicious Solution


“Imports by airplane have a substantial impact on global warming pollution. In 2005, the import of fruits, nuts, and vegetables into California by airplane released more than 70,000 tons of CO2, which is equivalent to more than 12,000 cars on the road.” according to Food Hub. Rather than reducing the impacts of food transportation, with 3-D printing we could eliminate them.

“Imagine being able to essentially ‘grow’, ‘cook’ or prepare foods without the negative industrial impact – everything from fertilizers to saute pans and even packaging,” says Homaro Cantu, chef and owner of the Moto Restaurant in Chicago, Illinois, who has printed sushi using an ink jet printer. “You can imagine a 3D printer making homemade apple pie without the need for farming the apples, fertilizing, transporting, refrigerating, packaging, fabricating, cooking, serving and the need for all of the materials in these processes like cars, trucks, pans, coolers, etc,” he adds.

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The Growing Power of Urban Agriculture


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

The Case for the Ethical Burrito: A Kantian Perspective on Advertisement


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.

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Uber: Transforming Transportation


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.

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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

For the Common Good: An Analysis of HBO’s Manipulation of the Commons


When introduced to America in the late 1940s, the television was predicted to be a brief fad that wouldn’t last more than a few years. Now in 2015, the world of television has become a staple of pop culture and modern day media distribution. Through decades of technological development and changes in consumer preferences, the television industry has managed to adjust and remain relevant. While premium channels like HBO (Home Box Office) and Showtime once rattled the nerves of top broadcast networks, the advent of digital streaming services like Netflix have become the latest innovation to pressure change in the industry.

The current changes to the television industry bring to light some of the shortcomings of the current model. Streaming services do not require the use of cable operators to distribute their content allowing consumers fewer barriers to access. In contrast, HBO has the power to choose which distributors it interacts with and therefore which audiences are left with or without access. Airwave usage is often considered a public commons, as evidenced by radio. Although distributed through similar methods as radio, television has historically been treated differently. HBO’s terms of distribution regulate the commons, and in doing so defies the rationality set by Kantian logic. The network’s reputation as a cutting edge innovator and industry leader makes it all the more surprising that HBO would impede on the public’s the right to content. The potential to understand the rationality behind HBO’s practices of distribution lies in thinking of the commons in conjunction with Kantian theories of ethics. Continue reading For the Common Good: An Analysis of HBO’s Manipulation of the Commons