Is being labeled “ethical” available for a price?
A new list of the best companies in the world includes huge polluters and companies that make deadly weapon technology. Is this what we’re calling ethical these days? Or is being labeled “ethical” available for a price?
Based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Rockwell Collins had 2011 revenues of $4.85 billion, putting it just outside the top-10 U.S. aerospace and defense companies. It makes navigation systems for fighter jets and business aircraft, as well as products like the FireStorm Integrated Targeting System (video), and NavStrike™ 3.3 munitions-guidance system. Its clients include the Department of Defense, as well as militaries in places like Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.
Rockwell is also, according to a new ranking from
, a New York think-tank, one of the “World’s Most Ethical Companies”. It appears in the 2012 list alongside 144 others, including Ford, Hasbro, and Alcoa.
“Our employees are proud to work at a company that takes ethics and compliance seriously,” says Rockwell’s senior counsel, Gary Chadick. “We are pleased to be recognized as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies for the third consecutive year.”
How exactly does a company that helps maim and kill end up on a ranking of the most righteous?
Robert Leffel, Ethisphere’s director of client advisory services, says his team has long debated that point, and excludes alcohol and tobacco companies because of their impact. He says, though, that Rockwell deserves to be included because military products make up only a part of its business, and the company scores well for its compliance controls, diversity, and community activity.
“We’ve talked a lot to Rockwell Collins about this,” says Stefan Linssen, who works with Leffel on the rankings. “Our goal is certainly not to rubber-stamp the entirety of a company’s operations as fully ethical, and a lot of these companies’ compliance teams acknowledge that.”
(Actually, at least half of Rockwell’s revenue comes from defense, according to the Wall Street Journal.)
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