Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Was Mars Inc.'s Decision Ethical?

Mars Incorporated, the owner of Skittles, was put into an ethical dilemma during the Trayvon Martin case. As most of us know, Skittles became a very popular item over these last few months. The rainbow colored candy was what Trayvon Martin was holding as he was fatally shot in Sanford, Florida. Protest and rallies have used bags of skittles in multiple ways to represent racial injustice, giving Mars Incorporated a steady increase in profit through out the media boom. 

However, the increase in profit hasn't gone over as smoothly as most companies would hope for. Mars Inc. has never received multiple social media hits telling the company they should feel obligated to donate proceeds that have profited from the increase in Skittles sales in order to give back to the Martin family and help them through this loss. Mars Inc. stayed quiet until Facebook wall posts started appearing on their company's wall. The company made one statement saying, "we are deeply saddened by the news of Trayvon Martin’s death and express our sincere condolences to his family and friends. We also respect their privacy and feel it inappropriate to get involved or comment further as we would never wish for our actions to be perceived as an attempt of commercial gain following this tragedy.” Since the statement, Mars Inc. has remained quiet and has slowly flown under the radar from the media, hopefully leading the media to focus on the real issue, finding justice in this case. I think the company made the right decision in that this case needs to focus on the real issue, not whether or not a brand of candy should be involved. What do you think?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Truth vs. Harmony

I'm sure we have all been in a situation where not telling the full truth has bettered the situation in many ways, but does this policy always work? What do you think is more important, focusing on always telling the truth or keeping peace and harmony during a situation?

When thinking about truth vs. harmony, a few public outbreaks come to my mind, the first being Enron. Enron is a scandal that will be discussed for many years to come. As we all know, a lot was going on behind the scenes of the company, a lot that was very illegal. When this information came out, Enron found themselves trapped, they were in so deep it was far too late to try and find harmony with in the company and the situation. Wouldn't it have been better for the company to come forward the minute they knew they were bound to be caught, rather than still trying to cover it up and having everything become worse. Another example that comes to mind is the Penn State scandal, like Enron the school continued to try and cover everything up rather than coming forward with the information they had after the first incident. By the time information had gotten out, it was too late for harmony. After looking at situations like these I can conclude that when a company or university represents such a large crowd, hiding the truth is never a good idea, because at some point or another it will come out and it will be much worse than if they would have just come out with the truth in the first place. However, there is still the idea with everyday issues that keeping harmony can be better than telling the full truth, it all just depends on the situation.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Planned Parenthood Controversy Doesn't Slow Komen Race Down

As most of us recall, a few weeks back the Susan G. Komen organization stopped all funding for Planned Parenthood due to information that linked Planned Parenthood's funds going toward abortions rather than mammograms. Planned Parenthood was extremely opposed to the loss of funding, and fired back immediately after the news was released. We all saw the controversy break as Komen continued to receive criticism and hate mail, leading to eventually revoking their decision and re-funding Planned Parenthood. Through out the arguments and negativity, the public seemed to lose focus on the importance of both organizations. Both organizations were created to help better and save lives of women, not to create controversy and hatred towards each other. While people choose to no longer support one or the other, I couldn't help but think aren't they missing the main point? We need to overlook problems like this and stand by our organizations that make a difference for thousands of people across the nation.

Recently, I came across an article that I was very pleased to read. The Komen organization hosted their annual Race for the Cure just a few days ago and they were happy to see a solid group of supporters. Before the race there was talk about the event not being as successful due to the recent controversy, however, I'm delighted to see that true supporters were able to overlook the minor mishaps and focus on the meaning of the organization. This year Race for the Cure had close to 11,000 attendees and raised more than $400,000, just around 2,500 attendees down from last year. The Komen organization was grateful for all their supporters and hope to continue to succeed in the future.

To read the full story click here.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Should Employers No Longer Hire Smokers?

Just recently an article came out discussing whether or not Fort Worth should ban tobacco completely for new city employees, debating on whether or not they will continue to hire smokers. For some, this idea is a great way to establish a healthier work environment, hopefully leading to a healthier city and in the long run cutting costs down for healthcare. For others, it is taking away our rights to make choices about our own lifestyle. So what's more important, creating a healthier and more cost efficient lifestyle for our community, or allowing the public to continue to make their own personal decisions?

Being a non-smoker, this debate doesn't have quite the same effect on me since I wouldn't have to make any adjustments to quit smoking. However, it does bring up a very important point of the ethical controversy in this decision. If the city is able to pass something where employers have the right to no longer hire smokers, what will be the next thing they will ban? I fear that if this does pass, then when will it ever stop?

In order to please both parties, I do think there are postitive alternatives to the situation. Many companies across the nation have incorporated health programs that promote special benefits for their employees who go the extra mile to maintain their health. One in particular that I can think of has a deal with all  employees that they test their health every month by a set of guidelines. Some of those guidelines include maintaining a constant weight level, exercising a certain amount of time every week, focusing on nutritional facts and food, and last but not least staying away from tobacco. If their employees don't smoke, it gives them an opportunity to increase their overall health rating. However, it is up to the employee to make the decision on how well they want to do. Employees with higher health checks will ultimately receive better bonuses. I think this is a great idea that many companies can become involved with because it is an incentive for all employees to maintain a healthy lifestyle but still gives them the chance to make their own decisions.

To read the fully article click here.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

To Eat or Not To Eat Meat

The debate on whether or not eating meat is right will forever be a controversial topic. I've heard both spectrums of the debate and can't say either side is wrong. There are those who think it is cruel to kill and eat animals and there are those who think it is perfectly natural to continue the eating of animals. Whether or not someone decides it is unethical or ethical, I don't think we will ever come to a conclusion of what is right or wrong.

There is so much that goes beyond the simple decision of why one side might be right or wrong that many people don't think about. For example, living in Texas I can think of several families whose lives depend on their cattle ranch. Ranching cattle is a living for them and has been for several generations, it is their way of life. When they sell their cattle to eventually be killed, they don't see it as cruel punishment, they see it as their cattle having been treated properly and well and it is now time for their next step. There is also the argument that meat is bad for us and contains steroids and antibiotics that are potentially harmful for our bodies, what about the pesticides and fertilizers that are sprayed all over plants to grow vegetables, are those just as potentially dangerous for our bodies? Overall, I think just about everything can some way be bad for us. Hopefully, with future tests and statistics we will all find out the truth to the harmful risks of meat and vegetables, but when we do I still believe it will be a long process to change certain ways of living.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Apple's Ethics

As Apple makes it into the headlines more and more, the company is receiving a heavy amount of questioning and criticism. When news came out that Apple's factories in China  have horrible working conditions, the company went into defense mode. Reports and mission statements came out with numbers showing that they do indeed abide by the working regulations, however, those working regulations aren't much. I'm curious to find out as this news continues to spread if Apple will lose consumers or if people will continue to buy products that are made by women in children in horrible working conditions for less than $1 an hour.

Sadly, even though this is a terrible situation and has had a fair amount of coverage, I think Americans will continue to purchase these high technology gadgets. We live in a world surrounded by greed, many people don't think twice about where their products come from. If you found out a child had worked a 12 hour day to make the iphone you use every day, would you give it up? As much as I would like to see consumers opinions change towards Apple, I don't know if they ever will. 

To read more about the working conditions for Apple factories in China click here.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Exactly How Much is Your Apple Product Worth?

Last month Apple made the headlines for a reason that shocked many consumers. Rather than anticipating the release of the next upgraded version of one of their sleek products, the public saw a much different side of the multi-billion dollar company. CNN News reported that many of Apple's factory suppliers, particularly located in China, have extremely poor working conditions, so bad that while we are paying hundreds for an ipad, workers are making less than $1 a day to make them. A Foxconn worker, one of Apple's largest supplying companies, released a statement saying, "they use women as men and they use men as machines, I almost feel like an animal."The worker was then asked why Foxconn uses their human workers for these jobs and the worker stated, "well, humans are cheaper."(read full article)

When I think of Apple, I think of shiny, high technology, sleek products that can do just about anything, at times, they might be smarter than most humans. What I didn't think about, until I read this article, was the dark side of the company. Apple comes across as a company that creates all their products in order to greater benefit their consumers lives, not as a company that uses the cheapest most unethical labor values in order to come up with these "top shelf" products. After the news came out, a petition was created asking Apple to change their labor values. As of February, the petition had around 250,000 signatures. Shortly after the news broke, Apple released a statement saying, "We care about every worker in our worldwide supply chain. We insist that our suppliers provide safe working conditions, treat workers with dignity and respect, and use environmentally responsible manufacturing processes wherever Apple products are made." I am curious to find out if the company really does make a change in their labor ways or if it is just pushed under the table like most other large companies do.