‘5 Hour energy’ kills

The famous ‘5-Hour Energy’ energy drink made its creator, Manoj Bhargava, a billionaire right away. However, recently it has come under a lot of scrutiny as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) received claims that it may have led to almost 13 deaths and 33 hospitalizations. The drink was criticized for containing high amounts of caffeine and according to some experts drinking multiple cans can equal drinking 30-40 cups of coffee.

Such harmful business activities give negative externalities wherein the third party (the people who are not involved in the actions) tend to be the sufferers, here the consumers. This incident highlights the need for firms and businesses to realize that they have a social responsibility towards the society. After all, it was the loyal consumers in the society that helped such businesses to be successful. In such a case it almost becomes a duty of firms to meet ethical standards in order to protect their stakeholders. Today businesses don’t exist merely for making a profit but also in order to aid the society by providing jobs, sponsoring research and development and promoting economic growth. Thus companies can no longer remain aloof of the harmful effects their business activities can cause to the society and the environment.

What is more surprising is the fact that although there are numerous checks and regulations ensuring that businesses understand their social responsibility. However such cases continue to take place. Perhaps more than law binding rules, what we require are efforts that change business attitudes so that businesses voluntarily strive to give back to the society- in a mindful way!




Canada’s New Rival

The arrival of ‘U.S discounter Target corporations’ is all set to shake the Canadian retail stores and increase the competition in the market. Target is a huge american retailer which is investing millions of dollars on their new stores in Canada. Target took over all the existing Zellers stores and has published a list of ‘125 stores’ which will be opened Canada wide by the beginning of 2013.

It is expected to “generate as much as 200– to 300-per-cent more sales-per-square-foot than Zellers, whose estimated average is about $150, said Edward Sonshine, chief executive officer of RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust.” It is going to provide a great competition to the Canadian stores such as Sears, Walmart and Canadian Tire and steal their sales. Other clothing and home decor stores like Winners and Toys R Us are also afraid of loosing business. My analysis show that this new incoming wave of Target will force the Canadian retailers to expand their business as only the fittest will survive in the market.

Further Reading: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/on-target-time-the-race-to-prepare-for-a-new-rival/article4573270/


Exploitation of the Poor

Martin Chou’s blog on Foxconn’s inhumane working conditions talked about the serious issue of exploitation of the poor in developing countries. I totally agree with him on the fact that multinational  corporations are exploiting the poor people in developing countries such as China, India, Bangladesh etc and taking the advantage of their poverty to increase personal profits of the company.

With my research I found out that not only Foxconn, but all the big companies like Gap, Nike, American eagle, Guess etc are doing just the same. Nike has its manufacturing factories in China, Indonesia and Bangladesh where it has been criticized for it “sweatshops”. Nike is one of the top sports clothing brand accused by allegations of sweatshops and child labour. Workers in Indonesia complaint by saying that their “supervisors frequently throw shoes at them, kick them and call them dogs and pigs”. These labourers work all day long like slaves and not even earn enough for a basic living. This inhumane unethical practice needs to be stopped by the government as the rich will  always keep getting rich by exploiting the poor. The governemnt of all these developing countries need to set a minimum wage which can atleast fulfilll the basic necessities of the people.



Why women don’t rise to the top of companies?

My  parents never wanted me to join a business school because they believed that women can never excel in companies. This always made me wonder what makes them think like this as in today’s world women have proved to be even more efficient than men. UC Davis College of Management‘s study shows that ratio of men in executive position to women is 10:1. America’s biggest companies hire women to full just over half of the professional jobs but only 28% reach the senior managerial posts, 14% enter the executive committees and just 3% of chief executive roles, according to McKinsey  & Company, a consultancy.

Several factors hold women back at work, the biggest obstacle is children. Even the most organised women find it hard to combine family responsibilities with the ultra-long working hours and the “anytime, anywhere” culture of senior corporate jobs. McKinsey study also revealed that 54% of the senior women executives surveyed were childless and single compared with 29% of the men . Is it ethical that women have to give up their private family life to succeed in her business career where as men can enjoy both? Could corporate culture should change so that women with families can also climb up the business ladder?