Corporate responsibility has come into increased focus in the past decade. Climate change, human rights violations, the financial crisis - corporates play a key role in these surmounting environmental, social and economic issues. This goes beyond the negative externalities of business - I refer to direct implications in which corporate missions conflict with basic morality. And the irony is of course, not only is the world overlooking the disgraceful impact these companies are creating on communities and the planet, but they are literally minting money! This article enlists the top 15 corporations and sheds light on some of the allegations that have merited them to join the list.
But the question really is - who's responsible: Management? Shareholders? Government?
I would opine that the real power to shift the paradigm lies with investors. With the advent of impact investing and an increasing number of sophisticated investors the world is gradually incorporating ESG (Environment, Social and Governance) factor into their analysis. Investment decisions factor in externalities and outcomes with increased focus although the movement is yet to gain substantial traction. However, this is not to undermine the role of the government. The direction and supply of private capital can be greatly shaped by policy (here's a must read report done by the Rockefeller Foundation on the role of government in impact investing: http://www.rockefellerfoundation.org/uploads/files/88fdd93f-b778-461e-828c-5c526ffed184-impact.pdf ) and the government undoubtedly has certain 'Stewardship' responsibilities that mandate it remains accountable for regulating market failure.
Will leave you to decide the authenticity of the article's claims for yourself, but more importantly, to reflect on what needs to change in the system and who needs to be held accountable.
These corporations, if they were individual human beings, would be locked up for life. Instead, they continue raking in the big bucks. Human rights abuses, murder, war, eco disasters, and animal exploitation keep these evil companies raking in the green. Prepare to be disgusted.