Ethics Score

I spent a large part of today working on the question 'What is the right organizational culture?' As with all cultural stuff it is much more complex than I wanted it to be and involved a lot of to-ing and fro-ing between books, websites, and article; and then a lot of writing, erasing, and starting again. But I did get a few words written. I just hope that I don't have to delete them all tomorrow. In the course of the website searches I discovered Ethiscore which scores companies on various dimensions of Corporate Social Responsibility. What I enjoyed, up to a point, was the scoring of tea companies.

I'd just got back from the supermarket rejecting my usual brand here in the US Equal Exchange Tea (Ethiscore 17/20 ) and bought PG tips – the first time I'd seen my usual UK brand in the supermarket here (Ethiscore 0.5/20 ) because of a price differential. If only I'd read the website before I set off to the supermarket. I could have developed my shopping list from the highly scored companies – that is one of the options available, and avoided supporting a company of dubious ethics. (Hence my enjoyment only up to a point on the tea scoring – I compromised my principles on price grounds although I didn't know it at the time).

The information on the companies is, so they say, updated daily. Although it's not clear how or where the information comes from to do the updates but an affiliate, Corporate Critic, compiles the data. There's a slight discrepancy as ethiscore scores out of 20 and Corporate Critic out of 15 which is not clearly explained. Althought, it appears that Corporate Critic excludes product sustainability from their ratings (an allowance of 5 points, while ethiscore includes it).

The list of companies they are tracking is long – over 50,000. So Nestle, for example, has an CSR score of 0 while several UK Building Societies score 13 or 14 – the top score being 15. There are some omissions – Philip Morris International (a tobacco company) is not on the list – presumably falling too far below zero to even contemplate including them.

Data for scoring is organised under the following categories:

• Environment – Environmental Reporting, Pollution & Toxics, Climate Change, Nuclear Power, Habitats & Resources
• People – Human Rights, Workers' Rights, Supply Chain Policy, Irresponsible Marketing, Armaments
• Animals – Animal Testing, Factory Farming Other Animal Rights
• Politics – Anti-Social Finance, Boycott Calls, Political Activity, Genetic Engineering, Company Ethos
• Product Sustainability (Organic, Fairtrade, Positive Environmental Features, Ethical Consumer magazine Best Buy, Company Sustainability, Other Sustainability)

It's a subscription service and subscribers can get customized scores for the aspects they're interested in. I still don't know whether having a high ethiscore is a product of a 'right' culture or whether the right culture is a product of a high ethiscore (or even if there is any connection at all between culture and ethiscore) – I'm still working on that one.

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