JCI ethics award?????

Several allies alerted me to this addition to the ISD 709 website many months ago as the District battled the perception that JCI was ripping Duluth off.

I viewed the website the District linked to with considerable suspicion but was too busy to pursue it. I’m still too busy but another friend sent the link to me again for my reaction. A quick check seems to confirm most of my early skepticism. There are a lot of bogus organizations paid for by special interests that hand out copious awards to Congressmen and Senators for awards meant only to get cheap press attention. Its a great way for a business to ingratiate itself to powerful people. I can find little information about Ethisphere. I’d really like to know who pays for it. My guess is that the companies receiving the awards are generous donors. In return they can trumpet their awards for high ethical standards whenever a Harry Welty type shows up to complain about them.

For most of my hour of “research” I simply typed in the name of the company with the word “complaint.” This usually resulted in pages of uncomplimentary and damning information. Honestly, any big company will have someone after it for something. But most of the companies I googled in this way seem too have a history of pissing a lot of people off.

This is the Ethisphere Council’s list of companies receiving their ethics awards in 2007. It would take a day to google each one but I checked out a six of their 92 award winners. What I found suggests that this is a bullshit award. Oh the Ethishhpere folks hand out awards to companies with some good reputations like Berkshire Hathaway but it had to to give the award some credibility as cover for their less deserving awards. I’m pretty familiar with this kind of scam because lots of pseudo trade organizations are created by US Industries to hand out faux awards to Congressman. It gives the Congressman free publicity and usually the only papers that will print the garbage are the small rural weeklies who are starved for news.

Here’s the Ethisphere’s first awardee a secretive privately held company that is a very curious recipient of such an award because there is so little to base it on as so little has been reported about it:


This is the lease damning page on a company that I’ve included. The other six companies cause some serious eyebrow raising:

Dole Fruit

I was very surprised to find Dole in the list of most ethical companies because it is infamous for turning Central American nations into corrupt “banana republics” and then buying off Congress to send in American troops to put down democratic elections that threaten their monopoly power.

Its not necessarily improved that much according to Wikipedia which has this to say about Dole today:

“Dole Food Company is among three major fruit companies cited for exploiting workers in developing nations.[11] The company is named as a defendant in a wrongful death lawsuit filed on behalf of 73 heirs of victims of paramilitary violence in Colombia”

Philips Electronics

The worst thing that might be said for Phillips is that it is very very big. Philips electronics is a huge company worldwide. My brother worked for them twice for about a year each. I got no sense from him of any ethical lapses but he was disheartened by their bureaucratic cluelessness as they tried to move into the US economy. Because its so large there should be little surprise that when their name is typed in with complaint pages of adverse stories pop up. It does make one wonder why it should have been chosen as being particularly ethical. I suspect its because of their deep pockets.

Principal Financial Group

It didn’t take long to find cricitism of this company on the web:


It was just as easy to find complaints about this company:

Duke Energy

When I saw Duke Energy on the list I was immediately reminded of my wife’s curled lip when she mentioned the leaders of this electric producer. My wife was a top executive in our local power producer and has long planned to attend seminary after retiring. I think its safe to say she has a fair sense of ethics and is fairly discriminating. She wouldn’t honor Duke with any ethics prizes. Neither apparently would some other folks.


Here’s a lovely story about Israel’s biggest Kosher food producer, Tnuva, whose managers erased hours worked by its lowly employees to cheat them out of earned income.

Johnson Controls Inc.

As for JCI, it won in the “automotive category”. Back in 2007 Chrysler Motor Corp took JCI to court for supplying them with batteries with less juice than JCI guaranteed. That doesn’t sound too ethical.

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