Culture

Noble Leaders

30 June 2020

Why CEOs are promoting ethical business

Do nice guys still finish last? Perhaps not quite as much, in today's business climate.

"Nice guy" might not be the first, immediate epithet that springs to mind when describing the SpaceX and Tesla founder Elon Musk; however, Musk did announce towards the beginning of the month that his tunnelling and excavation firm, the Boring Company, would use the earth dug up during its excavations to create bricks for low-cost housing.

Whether a significant number of cheap, new homes will be built thanks to Musk's tunnelling operations remains to be seen. Yet, his pledge – made in response to social media criticism - is just one of many in the age of #MeToo, as once-strident business people are leaning back a little bit, to consider their actions.

Google's CEO SundarPichai stressed his firm's commitment to digital wellbeing a couple of weeks ago, with the announcement that the new additions to the Android phone dashboard would make handsets easier to put down, and, ultimately less addictive.

Volkswagen's new CEO Herbert Diess called for greater corporate transparency, honesty, decency and accountability following his firm's diesel-emissions scandal.

Meanwhile, the Kering group (Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen, BottegaVeneta, etc.) is helping others within the fashion and apparel industry with its My EP&L App. This iPhone application enables anyone in the business to calculate the impact a garment's production and distribution has on the environment, helping both Kering's firms and others, source and produce in a more sustainable manner.

Should we expect much hand-holding, community bake sales and group sing-a-longs at next year's Davos? Possibly not. Nevertheless, it's good to see Musk, Pichai and their fellow c-level titans can still come first and spread a little love too.

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