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How do Americans rate the fairness of US corporate practices?

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Responses to: Which of these behaviors is most important in evaluating how just a corporation is?   Source

What do Americans think of corporate practices?  And what business practices most disturb Americans?  Each year JUST Capital conducts a poll of a representative sample of U.S. adults to answer these questions.

JUST Capital, a nonprofit group, seeks to “build a more just marketplace that better reflects the true priorities of the American people.”  The group believes that “business, and capitalism, can and must be a positive force for change.”   We believe that if they have the right information, people will buy from, invest in, work for, and otherwise support companies that align with their values. And we believe that business leaders are searching to win back the trust of the public in ways that go beyond money. By shifting the immense resources and ingenuity of the $15 trillion private sector onto a more balanced – and more just – course, we can help build a better future for everyone.

The findings from its 2017 survey of about 4,100 adult US respondents, shown above, provides some informative insights.  First, the outcome most important to corporate managers, i.e., providing returns to investors, is the least important practice that respondents use to rate the fairness of a corporation. Second, the national discourse on jobs and job creation makes that practice by far the highest rated factor in judging a corporation’s fairness. Third, some of the practices of greatest interest to health advocates, such as the health consequences of products (rated as most important by 35.4% of respondents), efforts to minimize pollution (38.6%), and providing a safe workplace (11.5%) rank lower than other factors.

The survey also compares responses by several demographic characteristics, including age, gender, income, region, political party, ideology and investor status.  Of interest, none of these factors predict large differences in beliefs about fairness.  Any survey is of course influenced by the wording of questions and other surveys have shown age and other differences in how Americans view corporations.

JUST Capital provides more detailed reports of their annual surveys from 2014 to 2017. It also publishes Roadmap for Corporate America, its summary of the 2017 survey and recommendations for how corporations can respond to survey findings.

A Bid to Increase Gun Exports, Stalled After Sandy Hook, Moves Ahead

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When cigarette, Coca Cola or whiskey sales fall in the United States, manufacturers look to recoup their losses by promoting sales of their lethal but legal products overseas, especially to the growing middle classes in middle income nations like China, Brazil, Mexico and India.  Now the Trump administration wants to streamline the process for exporting American firearms, reports the New York Times,  a change sought for years by domestic gun companies as a way to increase sales of both military weapons and small arms.

“A proposed rule published in the Federal Register would transfer jurisdiction of consumer gun exports from the State Department, where the licensing process is expensive and extensive, to the Commerce Department, which has a simpler application process.

Gun industry groups said that the shift, which was first conceived during the Obama administration but halted after the Sandy Hook school shooting in 2012, would pare down a bureaucratic process that currently discourages American firearms companies from sending their products abroad.

Lawrence Keane of the National Shooting Sports Foundation called the proposal “a significant positive development for the industry that will allow members to reduce costs and compete in the global marketplace more effectively, all while not in any way hindering national security.”

But critics of the proposal worry that American guns, including AR-15s and similar semiautomatic rifles frequently used in mass shootings, could more easily find their way into the hands of foreign criminals. Among the reasons: a change in the disclosure rules for certain sales. The State Department is required by the Arms Export Control Act to submit any commercial arms sale worth $1 million or more to congressional review. The Commerce Department has no equivalent mandate.”

Firearm sales in the United States have struggled since President Trump, a vocal supporter of the gun industry, was elected. Fears of gun control, which helped propel demand to record highs during the Obama administration, have waned during Mr. Trump’s tenure.

Representative Elizabeth Esty, whose Connecticut district includes Newtown, said on Wednesday that she would try to “stop this if I can.” “This is a national security and diplomacy question, but moving it to Commerce makes it an economic promotion of an industry,” she said. “It’s putting profits ahead of people.”

The Public and Nonprofit Sectors: An Alternative to Corporate Control

The practices of the pharmaceutical, unhealthy food and automobile industries contribute to premature deaths and preventable illnesses and injuries throughout the world.  One strategy for reducing these burdens is to strengthen the public and non-profit sectors.  This can create alternative healthier sources for needed goods and services, put pressure on the market sector to address health externalities more directly, and make the common good a higher public goal than profitability. The posts illustrate ways to grow this sector in pharmaceuticals, food, and transportation.

Addressing Generic-Drug Market Failures — The Case for Establishing a Nonprofit Manufacturer

Robust competition usually keeps the price of generic drugs well below that of brand-name drugs. When there is little or no competition, however, generic-drug manufacturers can substantially increase prices, and drug shortages may occur. Such market failures can compromise care and negatively affect patients, health care providers, government insurance programs, and private health plans. We believe that market-based solutions are an important alternative approach to stimulating competition in generic-drug markets. One such solution is to establish a nonprofit generic-drug manufacturer with the explicit mission of producing affordable versions of essential drugs and ensuring a stable supply of such products. A consortium of hospitals and health plans, including Intermountain Healthcare, Trinity Health, SSM Health, and Ascension, in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs and philanthropists, is following this approach and developing a nonprofit generic-drug manufacturer code-named Project Rx. Citation: Liljenquist D, Bai G, Anderson GF. Addressing Generic-Drug Market Failures -The Case for Establishing a Nonprofit Manufacturer. N Engl J Med. 2018;378 (20):1857-1859.

Public Procurement of Food in Canada

Unhealthy foods are widely available in public settings across Canada, contributing to diet-related chronic diseases, such as obesity and diet-related diseases especially among vulnerable groups, including children and seniors. Healthy food procurement policies, which support procuring, distributing, selling, and serving healthier foods, have recently emerged as a promising strategy to counter this public health issue by increasing access to healthier foods. Although numerous Canadian health and scientific organizations have recommended such policies, they have not yet been broadly implemented in Canada.  To inform further policy action on healthy food procurement in a Canadian context, the authors conducted an evidence synthesis to assess the impact of healthy food procurement policies on health outcomes and sales, intake, and availability of healthier food. Based on this review, they recommend policies and practices for governments, publicly funded institutions, decision-makers and professionals, citizens, and researchers. They conclude that implementation of healthy food procurement policies can increase Canadians’ access to healthier foods as part of a broader vision for food policy in Canada.

Citation: Raine KD, Atkey K, Olstad DL,  et al. Healthy food procurement and nutrition standards in public facilities: evidence synthesis and consensus policy recommendations. Health Promot Chronic Dis Prev Can. 2018 ;38(1):6-17.

Fast Facts on the Public Health and other Benefits of Public Transportation

 

  • A person can reduce his or her chance of being in an accident by more than 90% simply by taking public transit as opposed to commuting by car.
  • Traveling by public transportation is 10 times safer per mile than traveling by automobile.
  • Communities that invest in public transit reduce the nation’s carbon emissions by 37 million metric tons annually.
  • The average household spends 18 cents of every dollar on transportation, and 96% of this goes to buying, maintaining, and operating cars, the largest expenditure after housing.
  • A household can save nearly $10,000 by taking public transportation and living with one less car.
  • ​Public transportation’s overall effects save the United States 4.2 billion gallons of gasoline annually.
  • The average household spends 18 cents of every dollar on transportation, and 96% of this goes to buying, maintaining, and operating cars, the largest expenditure after housing.
  • A household can save nearly $10,000 by taking public transportation and living with one less car.
  • Public Transportation Reduces Gasoline Consumption
  • Public transportation’s overall effects save the United States 4.2 billion gallons of gasoline annually.

Source: American Public Transportation Association. Public Transportation Benefits