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Corporate Transparency: 3 Companies Doing It Right

18 / 05 / 2015

corporate sustainability ethics

Consumer power has torpedoed in recent times, particularly in the digital world – meaning businesses have never been under more scrutiny. One slip or negative policy, and the damages can be irreparable. Trust in companies is declining, so it still takes enormous courage for a company to commit to sustainability and transparency. We take a look at some of the most sustainable, ethical companies and how they are inspiring others.


Transparency and Ethics: Who’s Doing it Right?


Once much-derided; even parodied as the headquarters of Dr Evil in the second film of the Austin Powers comedy series: Starbucks is now leading the way for corporate ethics in the coffee industry. Its ambitious goal to have 100% of all its coffee sourced ethically is almost there: the current figure is at 99%, up from 96% in 2014.

Their efforts have been lauded by Conservation International , whose Senior Vice President of the Centre for Environmental Leadership in Business, John Buchanan, has claimed that “coffee could be the world’s first sustainably sourced commodity”. The gauntlet has been truly laid down to other coffee chains, and that’s no bad thing – the more companies that take up the challenge, the better the entire coffee industry.


The influence of social media is becoming increasingly prevalent in a world dominated by always-on technology. Nobody knows this more so than Buffer, the company behind one of the most successful social media posting tools. They shocked the online sphere by releasing a blog that published the salaries of all their employees.

They also outlined the calculation for each salary, based on a set formula rather than negotiations. Not content with that, they also publish updates on their revenue and growth. The transparency is outstanding and challenges the way we think about company interests. Is it better to play cards close to your chest or reveal everything and allow others to make more intelligent decisions about engaging with a company?


Possibly the biggest company disaster of all time, McDonald’s were plagued by the ‘pink slime’ scandal. Images emerged, reportedly of a McDonald’s supply chain, using ammonium hydroxide in its meat. While the media ran riot and Jamie Oliver furiously took to the camera, McDonald’s protestations were ignored... until it produced videos detailing how it produces its food – filmed in their very own factories, that is.

With this approach, McDonald’s transparency movement quickly gained traction and the videos reached millions across the globe. It’s unusual practice to give people an insight into ‘trade secrets’, but the brave move allowed McDonald’s to claim back some momentum and regain consumer trust.

At Barclay Simpson, we endeavour to provide a UK-leading service in corporate governance recruitment. We understand the pressures corporate businesses face on a daily basis and make every effort to mirror our own values in our methods of recruitment. It’s reflected by both our truly long-term relationships with clients and exceptional retention rate: close to 100%.

We are a fully accredited Equality Assured Recruiter and are working towards Clearkit accreditation – in recognition of on-going efforts to give disabled people full and transparent opportunities to job opportunities. It’s only through hard work, demonstrated by the companies above, that we can all work towards an ethical, sustainable professional industry.