Sometimes news topics seem to come in batches. I’ve been compiling a lot of news that I just couldn’t get to for the last three weeks while I was a) traveling and b) getting Automation World April issue to the printer. Here are three ethics-related stories for your edification. (And, yes, I believe that ethics and manufacturing/business can mix. But I’ve been part of many meetings in my career where I shuddered at the opinions expressed.)

I just quoted entrepreneur, academic and TechCrunch writer Vivek Wadhwa about education. Here is a post where he suggests “Integrating ethics into the core of your startups-why and how.”

Then came news from two companies in our industry segment recognized for ethics policies from the Ethisphere Institute. This organization bills itself as ” a leading international think tank dedicated to the creation, advancement and sharing of best practices in business ethics, corporate social responsibility, anti-corruption and sustainability.” The Institute’s associated membership group, the Ethisphere Council, is a forum for business ethics that includes over 200 leading corporations, universities and institutions. The Ethisphere Council is dedicated to the development and advancement of individuals on its membership council through increased efficiency, innovation, tools, mentoring, advice, and unique career opportunities. Ethisphere magazine, which publishes the globally recognized World’s Most Ethical Companies Ranking, is the quarterly publication of the Institute.  Through in-depth research and a multistep analysis, Ethisphere reviewed thousands of nominations from companies in over 100 countries and 36 industries in order to determine the winners.

The methodology for the Ethisphere rankings includes evaluating investments in innovation and sustainable business practices; looking at activities designed to improve corporate citizenship; and studying nominations from senior executives, industry peers, suppliers and customers.

For the third consecutive year, the Ethisphere Institute has recognized Rockwell Automation as one of the world’s most ethical companies.

“Rockwell Automation’s promotion of a sound ethical environment shines within its industry and shows a clear understanding that operating under the highest standards for business behavior goes beyond goodwill and “lip-service” and is intimately linked to performance and profitability,” said Alex Brigham, executive director of the Ethisphere Institute. “This year’s World’s Most Ethical Companies award was more competitive than ever because companies realize that making ethics a priority is critical amidst a tough economic environment.”

“Our company’s deep commitment to ethics starts from the top with our board of directors and is sustained with an unwavering dedication by our 19,000 employees at every level,” said Keith D. Nosbusch, Rockwell Automation chairman and CEO. 

The Rockwell Automation Corporate Responsibility Update is available online.

For the second consecutive year CH2M HILL, a global full-service consulting, design, construction, and operations firm, has been selected by Ethisphere Institute as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies. The fourth annual list highlights 100 organizations that lead the way in promoting ethical business standards.

Lee McIntire, CH2M HILL Chairman and CEO said, “Receiving this honor is truly a marketplace differentiator, and it reflects the dedication of employees, at all levels of our organization, to conduct business in the most ethical manor, and to care about the communities we serve. Treating each other with civility and our multi-culture diversity is big part of this. I couldn’t be more proud.”

As employee-owners and members of the communities where the firm works, CH2M HILL employees embrace all elements of corporate citizenship. Environmental, social, and economic sustainability best practices are included as integral approaches in project delivery. Each year the firm sets more ambitious goals for reducing its internal environmental footprint through a rigorous Environmental Management System. In 2009, CH2M HILL contributed $3.7 million to benefit global communities.

All employees reaffirm their commitment to uphold the firm’s business conduct policy through an annual re-signing process. Regular communications about ethics are shared with employees through monthly articles on the company’s online news channels, CEO blog, throughout the intranet, memos, e-mails from leadership, and face-to-face discussions. New programs introduced in 2009 to further the firm’s commitment to ethical behavior include:

  • Enhanced its confidential reporting line by launching a confidential online system for suppliers, subcontractors and employees to use when reporting ethics violations, financial and auditing concerns, harassment, theft, substance abuse and unsafe conditions.
  • Established a Diversity & Inclusion strategy focused on working within CH2MHILL and also with global corporate leaders, civic associations and our clients to apply Diversity/Equality & Inclusion values to their projects.
  • Developed a partnership to provide real-time tracking and monitoring of CO2 and other greenhouse gasses along with other sustainability indicators to help CH2M HILL better manage its resources and environmental impact.
  • Formalized a new Community Investment Program to maximize investment of time, talent and money. The program brings guidance at the local level while allowing flexibility and autonomy to affect social change and to support employees’ personal passions through programs such as Dollars for Doers.
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