Another Radical Sustainability Idea: Pay Employees at Least a Fair Living Wage

fair wageHere is another breakthrough corporate CSR idea; How about paying employees at least a fair living wage? My last blog suggested A Wild and Crazy Corporate CSR Idea: Pay Your Taxes.

At the risk of being overly innovative by simply stating the obvious, I humbly suggest a second breakthrough corporate social responsibility (CSR) program: pay all employees at least a Living Wage. Otherwise, corporations may be setting themselves up for public embarrassment, like the report that went viral last October about how McDonald’s US pays its workers below-poverty-line wages while its “McResource” employee help line encourages them to use food stamps and government assistance to make ends meet. That is, McDonald’s wants the government (a.k.a. tax-paying citizens) to top up their paltry workers’ wages. Awkward. McDonald’s has since discontinued its McResource.

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Pay your damn taxes! Are Sustainability Rankings Missing Something?

Bob WillardNo one enjoys paying taxes. You don’t. I don’t. Companies don’t either. But it’s our civic duty. Without tax revenues, governments cannot provide us with the health, education, safety, security, and infrastructure services that are vital to our well-being in a flourishing society. Taxes are a necessary and a good thing. Corporate taxes are vital. However, over the past 50 years, the share of tax revenue coming to the federal government from business has collapsed. According to the U.S. Tax Policy Center, corporate taxes represented 32% of U.S. federal government revenues in 1953; 23% in 1966; 12% in 1998; and 9% in 2010. There seems to be trend.

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Just Because It’s Legal Doesn’t Make it Ethical

The fact that something is legal doesn’t make it ethical. You might think it’s obvious, but it’s not, as evidenced by the fact that a former student recently told me that his Finance professor explicitly told him that if something is legal, it’s ethical…full stop. Of course, the student — my student — knew better, and related the story to me while rolling his eyes.

wrong or right ethical question

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Measuring Blind Growth (GDP) is a Flawed Approach: A Sustainable Economy will Measure Wellbeing

David-SuzukiGovernments, media and much of the public are preoccupied with the economy. That means demands such as those for recognition of First Nations treaty rights and environmental protection are often seen as impediments to the goal of maintaining economic growth. The gross domestic product has become a sacred indicator of well-being. Ask corporate CEOs and politicians how they did last year and they’ll refer to the rise or fall of the GDP.

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When did citizens/taxpayers become a top-up mechanism to subsidize low wage workers’ pay?

[Editor's note: Thankfully here in Canada we don't have many of these issues but for low wage's no paradise here either.  The social component of corporate sustainability clearly has a role to play BUT will the system allow for the necessary change?]


Fast food giant MacDonald sparked widespread scorn recently when it was found to have provided its low wage workers with tips about saving money, like “Breaking food into pieces often results in eating less and still feeling full” and advice on applying for food stamps.

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