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Could a Corporate Code of Responsibility Have Averted the Financial Crisis?

While I by no means am a financial expert, and there are countless others who have written more articulately about the worldwide economic crisis, I can’t help but wonder if a corporate code of responsiblity might have helped stave off the current financial meltdown.

Earlier this spring, I heard Eric Reynolds speak at the Q Conference about the Code of Corporate Citizenship. Reynolds spoke abou the code – originiated by Robert Hinkley – which essentially codifies a basic level of responsibility beyond just earning value for shareholders:

“The Code” is a 28 word phrase that he proposes be added to corporate charters in all 50 states. A social sector movement to change the laws governing all corporations in this manner is now in the early stages of development.

This phrase would be appended to the sentence in all charters that directs the officers and board of the corporation to conduct the affairs of the corporation for the financial benefit of the shareholders, period. Instead this sentence would replace the period with a coma, followed by the words – “… but not at the expense of the environment, human rights, the public health or safety, the communities in which the corporation operates, or the dignity of its employees.”

Perhaps it is naive to think that this code is feasible or pragmatic given the complexities of today’s market. But I can’t help but wonder if there is a simple yet practical truth to this Code that may have kept corporations from destroying the financial stability of consumers worldwide.

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Snapshots from my life.

  • Rocked the #seawheeze half-marathon with the wifey! #spocanada #13.1 #lululemon
  • Sunset yoga on the beach with several hundred of your closest friends. #seawheeze #lululemon
  • Radio tower clouds.
  • Holiday weekends were made for par-3 golf with the bro. #replacethepin
  • It takes a lot of boarding passes to get to New Zealand.