Ethics cost money
June 26, 2003 7:25 AM   Subscribe

Ethics cost money - The Los Angeles Times discusses the effect of Levi Strauss's ethical standards on their place in a competitive marketplace. Can a company succeed when they place their morals ahead of their money?
posted by Argyle (9 comments total)
You can't really blame Levi's downfall on the company's ethical standards. Sounds to me like they just made stupid business decisions.

Although, keeping clothing plants in the US when you can get the labor much much cheaper overseas could be considered a stupid business decision... I for one applaud their ethics. I wish Enron had ethics. Or Worldcom. Or....
posted by graventy at 7:41 AM on June 26, 2003

Can a nation succeed when they place their money ahead of their morals?
posted by theora55 at 7:43 AM on June 26, 2003

Considering the markup on brand name jeans I don't think they'd lose money if they had the Queen of England working for them in a textile factory.
posted by Space Coyote at 7:47 AM on June 26, 2003

Argyle - 'Can a company succeed when they place their morals ahead of their money?'
As you are probably aware, the answer is...


'B&Q plc is the UK’s largest home improvement chain. In 1999, its profits reached £188m - a success built not only on products and pricing but responsibility and reputation.'


'Sainsbury’s believes that its customers want excellent quality and value for money, but not at the expense of people working in developing countries who may be working in unsafe conditions and for poor wages.'


'Triodos Bank achieved good growth again in 2002, with the balance sheet total rising by more than 9% to EUR 829 million. Triodos Bank’s net profit rose by 12% to EUR 2.6 million. Despite economic recession, Triodos Bank has achieved sustained growth in its sustainable savings and investment activities. In addition, demand for lending in the Nature and the Environment, Culture and the Social Economy sectors continued to increase during the year.'

Consumer awareness is on the rise, despite the machinations of various multinational companies and organisations.
posted by asok at 7:50 AM on June 26, 2003

GM foods are unethical? Are hybrid tulips unethical too? Maybe we should add the Netherlands to the axis of evil...
posted by techgnollogic at 8:06 AM on June 26, 2003

GM foods are unethical?

Congratulations, you've successfully missed the point. It's not the broad concept of altering genes, it's the reality of how it's being done, who's doing it and why.
posted by Space Coyote at 8:31 AM on June 26, 2003

Cheaters only win in the short run. Moral integrity wins long term gains. Look at Johnson & Johnson. They live by their Credo and the financial results are impressive. Everybody and every corporation has their lapses, but by at least trying to live by certain minimum standards a corporation can prosper in the long run. (caveat: I am not unbiased in my opinion of J&J).
posted by caddis at 8:46 AM on June 26, 2003

techgnollogic, sorry if I have clouded the issue with the inclusion of the link to the story about GM food labeling. As Space Coyote suggests, the issue is not GE per se, it is the method of introduction to the environment and markets. I am all for GE, I think it's great, much to the dismay of many of my religious and green friends.
The point I was trying to make, was that in claiming that labeling foods GM, or GM-Free, is restrictive to businesses wanting to sell GM food large corporations are showing exactly how much store they set by the value of consumer choice. I cannot think of any reason to not supply the consumer with the exact ingredients in any product, there origins and nature.
Generally, in my experience, consumers want information, they want to 'do the right thing' when purchasing, they want choice.
posted by asok at 9:08 AM on June 26, 2003

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