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Economy

Concerns and Ethical Lapses, 2015

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The latest briefing from the Institute of Business Ethics analyses the major business ethics concerns and ethical lapses from 2015 which were recorded in the IBE’s ‘media monitoring’. In 2015, 376 stories related to business ethics issues were recorded.

  • Concerns about executive remuneration and the mistreatment of employees appear to have received more press coverage in 2015 than in 2014.
  • The prominence of the finance sector in the media decreased in 2015, although it remains the most reported on industry.
  • Stories related to both professional services providers and media and entertainment were found to be more prominent in 2015 than in 2014.
As in 2014, the Finance sector received the most news coverage in 2015 – but fewer stories reported this year (97 in 2015, 181 in 2014) and the gap between it and other sectors has become smaller. This is consistent with recent IBE analysis which observed that in Britain since 2012 the business ethics landscape has become less dominated by scandals associated with the financial crisis, and new issues have drawn public attention to a wider variety of sectors. Fraud was the most common form of wrongdoing present in the media in relation to the finance sector in 2015, with stories split between allegations of financial crime committed by organisations and individuals or groups defrauding their employer. This sector gained the highest press coverage about mistreatment of customers. Utilitycompanies followed, criticised especially for allegedly inadequate customer service and management of complaints.
Retail continues to be the second most covered industry with 62 reported ethical lapses and concerns. The main issue was the mistreatment of stakeholders, particularly staff and suppliers. Supply chain issues also featured prominently: late payments to suppliers and abuse of power were the most pressing concerns. Cases of human rights breaches, such as slave or child labour, in the supply chains of retail companies were also reported.
The majority of the news stories of alleged misconduct involved big corporations, with 12 of the 20 most frequently mentioned companies currently listed in the FTSE 350 Index. According to their company websites, 80% of these 20 companies have adopted an explicit set of values and about three in four have a publicly available code of ethics (or similar document). This suggests that although both of these are important promoting ethical behaviour, on their own they are not sufficient. Companies need to take further steps and ensure that their values are effectively embedded into their business, to minimise the future risk of such stories featuring in the news.
Sector to watch: There were 31 stories involving technology companies, making this sector the third most reported on in 2015. Accounting for 8% of the stories, it is on an upward trend when compared to 2014 and this reflects the increasing prominence of technology companies and the new ethical risks that have emerged in this sector. Nearly a quarter of ethical lapses in this sector (23%) involved competition practices. The ethical dilemma of addressing both the needs of privacy and the requirements of openness clearly presented a concern, while the new ethical issues posed by the use of Big Data appear to have exacerbated the problem. About a fifth of stories in this industry (19%) involve these contrasting demands.

Economy

A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon

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energy efficient homes

Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.

There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.

1. The Rise Of Smart Windows

When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.

If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.

2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs

If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.

Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.

3. Low-E Windows Taking Over

It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.

They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.

4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges

Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.

The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.

5. Improving Our Current LEDs

Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.

That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.

Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too

Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.

ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244

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Economy

IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”

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IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.

Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.

Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.

Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:

“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.

We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.

There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.

We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”

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