- Opinion & Analysis
- Read Time: 7 min
With a new scrutiny around technology user data and privacy, we must not forget about the potential dangers of the technology itself.
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Technology changes faster than society can keep up, a pattern now playing out with artificial intelligence. Many CEOs are taking a wait-and-see approach to AI, while others are anxious to barrel forward. In both cases, there’s little conversation about AI’s human costs. Incremental adaption makes it more likely that AI algorithms shared across organizations and geography are spreading their shortcomings. Leaders must act to mitigate these challenges if AI is to benefit society.
Unethical behavior and misconduct has been a persistent problem in the business world. A company’s ethical norms are a cumulative outcome of how daily ethical dilemmas are addressed in the workplace. Over time, these micro-level issues can evolve into a corporate ethics scandal — unless organizations work to help employees make ethical choices day to day.
The fusion of business, technology, and ethics is unfolding at a rate that appears to outstrip our ability as citizens to have meaningful and careful conversations about the effects of our actions on others. At the same time, the civic processes that should encourage innovative solutions to new problems appear to be broken. What we need is a commitment to honestly talk about the challenges technology now poses.
Consumers and employees increasingly expect companies to engage with social, environmental, and economic issues. But business leaders can find themselves between a rock and a hard place, especially when corporate political activism is framed as “take a stand or be silent.” The reality is that companies need a more nuanced set of options.
Much has been made of the way online platforms have been used to manipulate Western political systems — but this is just one of many greater issues facing the modern world. It’s time for business leaders to insist on policies prioritizing humanitarian and environmental values.
A strong governance with a steady hand assures that a company achieves a given purpose properly, within the boundaries of ethics and law.
Companies that want to leverage their business practice to support the SDGs need to do so in an effective, ambitious, and conscientious way.
The investor community increasingly demands that companies share their long-term plans, which they can orient around growth, strategy, and acknowledgment of risks.
In the wake of documented Russian manipulation of the U.S. election via disinformation campaigns on social media platforms, digital platform companies like Facebook and Twitter need to take concrete steps to prevent misuse.
Democracy is fundamental to business interests — yet business leaders have been mostly silent when it comes to the recent cyberattacks on elections in the U.S. and other western democracies. This needs to change, and fast.
Companies that seek to meet the challenge of operating both profitably and sustainably can benefit by learning which sectors have the most impact on sustainable development goals.
AI’s most potent, long-term economic value may lie not in the thousands of new startups, but in the ability of AI to augment the discovery and pursuit of basic scientific advances that could be the foundations of new industry.
The old story of business says that maximizing shareholder profit is goal number one. The new story says that shareholders matter, but not more than other stakeholders — which include customers, suppliers, employees, other financiers, and the communities in which companies operate.
As the effects of climate change become more prominent, business needs to grapple with its own attitudes toward government. A more destructive physical environment requires a more nuanced relationship in which government is viewed as a partner in enabling and supporting markets rather than as a regulator that needs to be managed.
When an ethics scandal damaged the reputation of Swedish telecom giant Telia and led to the ouster of its top managers, the company’s incoming leadership took a radical new turn: Changing from a corporate strategy with sustainability programs to a sustainable strategy.
New factory audit processes help companies that outsource production to evaluate supplier performance in more depth, leading to more effective decision-making. Three key issues that hamper modern auditing — standardization, cost inflation, and fraud — are being mitigated by new systems that automate the inspection process while tailoring it to specific inputs. The result: analytical capabilities that go beyond the classic audit model.
Most CEOs have detailed long-term plans, which are often closely held secrets out of concern that competitive advantage may be undermined by detailed disclosure. Yet disclosing a long-term plan provides an opportunity to identify financially material sustainability issues and demonstrate how the company manages business-critical issues — information that’s valuable to investors.
In the final report of our eight-year study of how corporations address sustainability, MIT Sloan Management Review and The Boston Consulting Group examine the crossroads at which sustainability now finds itself. Despite sociopolitical upheaval that threatens to reverse key gains, our research has shown that companies can develop workable — and profitable — sustainability strategies to reduce their impact on the global environment by incorporating eight key lessons.
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