Gap, Dell, and Clif Bar Cited by Business Ethics Awards

Gap, Dell, and Clif Bar Cited by Business Ethics Awards

Business Ethics magazine has named Gap, Dell, Clif Bar, and two other companies as winners of its annual Business Ethics Awards.

The awards are given to companies that, in part, are “a leader in their field, out ahead of the pack, showing the way ethically,” according to the awards criteria. The awards also honor companies that “have programs or initiatives in social responsibility that demonstrate sincerity and ongoing vibrancy, and that reach deep into the company,” and that “have a significant presence on the national or world scene, so their ethical behavior sends a loud signal.”

“In these days when the headlines daily bring news of new corporate malfeasance -- with scandals spreading from industry to industry and company to company -- we at Business Ethics have spent the last several months rooting around for another kind of news: news of genuinely good hearts, right actions, and thoughtful stewardship. We’re pleased to report we’ve found some great stories,” writes the magazine in introducing the latest crop of award winners. They include:

  • Chroma Technology Corp. of Rockingham, Vt., winner of the Living Economy Award, for exemplifying the emerging "living economy" with practices of employee ownership, fair wages, and environmental stewardship. “While other companies practice outsourcing, Chroma remains locally rooted, with virtually all 68 employees living within a 50-mile radius,” writes the magazine. “Most unusual is the firm’s flat pay scale, where no employee makes less than $37,500 and no one more than $75,000. Thus no top-level specialist makes more than twice anyone on the shop floor.”

  • Clif Bar Inc. of Berkeley, Calif., winner of the General Excellence Award for its thorough-going commitment to environmental sustainability, employee well-being, and community involvement. “The company became the first energy bar to be certified organic, with 70 percent organic ingredients. It bought organic cotton T-shirts, reduced the use of shrink wrap in packaging, and began educating the public about global warming,” writes the magazine.

  • Dell, Inc. of Round Rock, Tex., winner of the Environmental Progress Award, for responding to stakeholder concerns with industry-leading computer-recycling initiatives, including a low-cost consumer home pickup and recycling service, a computer recycling grant program to local communities, and a computer collection pilot program in its hometown of Austin, Tex. “For 2005, Dell has announced an aggressive aim of a 50 percent increase in global product recovery, making it the first company to publicly release a computer recycling goal.”

  • Gap Inc. of San Francisco, winner of the Social Reporting Award, for taking social reporting a quantum step forward by risking unprecedented honesty in reporting on factory conditions. Gap Inc.’s May 2004 release of its path-breaking Social Responsibility Report examines how well factories around the world are complying with Gap’s vendor code. “What is noteworthy about the report is its unprecedented level of candor, disclosing health and safety infractions discovered in visits by the company’s Global Compliance Team to the 3,000 factories that produce Gap Inc. apparel in 50 countries,” the magazine said.

  • King Arthur Flour of Norwich, Vt., winner of the Social Legacy Award, for handing down to employee owners a centuries-old tradition of purity, for both the consumer and the environment.

    The awards are sponsored by Hewlett-Packard, BNA, Granite Construction, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Wendy’s, and others. Business Ethics is a 17-year-old publication focused on corporate social responsibility.