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October 12th, 2014
Bei Crowdinvestment droht Verbrauchern Totalverlust: Gefahren bei Geldanlage auf Crowdfunding-Plattformen


Wie schnell sich per Crowdfunding im Internet Geld verdienen lässt, zeigt das Beispiel von Zack Danger Brown: Im Juli startete der US-Bürger auf der Online-Plattform Kickstarter ein Kartoffelsalat-Projekt. Das als Schnapsidee begonnene Unterfangen brachte ihm binnen eines Monats umgerechnet mehr als 43.000 Euro ein: Knapp 7000 Menschen "investierten" in seinen Kartoffelsalat. Brown organisierte ein kostenloses "Kartoffel-Festival" und spendete die Einnahmen. Solch positive Schlagzeilen machen Projekte von Crowdfunding-Plattformen nicht immer. In dieser Geldanlage schlummern Gefahren für Verbraucher.

July 16th, 2014
Ferien-Lesetipp: „Irrweg Bioökonomie. Kritik an einem totalitären Ansatz“


Bieten Bioökonomie und Biotechnologie eine Antwort auf zentrale Zukunftsfragen wie Welternährung, Wasserschonung und Klimaschutz? Oder beschleunigen sie die Ausbeutung und Zerstörung der Natur? Die Antwort von Franz-Theo Gottwald und Anita Krätzer in ihrem 2014 erschienen Buch „Irrweg Bioökonomie. Kritik an einem totalitären Ansatz“ fällt eindeutig aus – wie bereits der Titel verrät.

February 4th, 2014
Total verzichtet auf Erdölförderung in Welterbe-Gebieten


Paris (afp) - Der französische Energiekonzern Total hat sich verpflichtet, kein Erdöl mehr in schützenswerten Welterbe-Gebieten zu fördern. Das kündigte die Weltkulturorganisation UNESCO am Montagabend in Paris an und begrüßte dies als "historische Entscheidung". Der britisch-niederländische Energieriese Royal Dutch Shell sowie die Vereinigung



May 17th, 2012
Total schließt Gasleck an der Nordsee-Plattform


Paris (afp) - Knapp zwei Monate nach dem Gasunfall in der Nordsee hat der französische Energiekonzern Total das Gasleck an der Plattform "Elgin" geschlossen. Es trete kein Gas mehr aus, teilte Total am Mittwoch in Paris mit. Das Unternehmen hatte am Dienstag damit



April 14th, 2012
Total vermeldet Fortschritte im Einsatz gegen Gasleck


London (afp) - Der französische Energiekonzern Total kommt nach eigenen Angaben beim Einsatz gegen das Gasleck an der havarierten Plattform "Elgin" in der Nordsee voran. Es gebe "deutliche Fortschritte", teilte der Konzern am Samstag mit. Total will schweren Schlamm in das undichte Bohrloch



April 6th, 2012
Total-Experten beenden Erkundung auf havarierter Nordsee-Plattform


London (afp) - Der französische Energiekonzern Total wird nach eigenen Angaben schon bald mit Maßnahmen gegen das Gasleck an seiner Nordsee-Plattform Elgin beginnen können. Ein auf die Förderplattform vor der Küste Schottlands entsandtes Expertenteam habe keine Einwände gegen eine Fortsetzung der Vorbereitungen zum



September 18th, 2011
Siemens kündigt Totalausstieg aus dem Atomgeschäft an


Hamburg > Der Technologiekonzern Siemens steigt komplett aus dem Atomgeschäft aus. "Das Kapitel ist für uns abgeschlossen", sagte Unternehmenschef Peter Löscher der neuen Ausgabe des Nachrichtenmagazins "Spiegel". Der Konzern reagiere damit "auf die klare Positionierung von Gesellschaft und Politik in Deutschland zum Ausstieg



March 5th, 2009
LeasePlan überzeugt Kunden und Mitarbeiter mit Total Quality – auch in wirtschaftlich harten Zeiten


Neuss > 85.000 Fahrzeuge hat der Fuhrpark von LeasePlan Deutschland. Oder besser: Haben die von LeasePlan betreuten Kundenfuhrparks. Denn die deutsche Tochtergesellschaft der LeasePlan Corporation N. V. ist eine Fuhrparkmanagementgesellschaft mit 320 Mitarbeitern. "Das letzte Quartal [2008, Anm. d. Red.] ist auch für



November 15th, 2014
Online gegen Kohlekraft und TTIP: Wie Campact Politik macht


Den Namen Campact kennen bis heute nicht viele. Doch die von der Bekanntheit her im Schatten von Gruppen wie Greenpeace oder Attac stehende Nichtregierungsorganisation hat mit ihrem im Internet initiierten Kampagnen inzwischen großen Einfluss. "Campact ist ein absolutes Machtinstrument", sagt ein ehemaliger Mitarbeiter der Bundesregierung.

October 27th, 2014
How Apple and Facebook have taken gender discrimination to a new level



Over the last week or so we have seen a vibrant debate unfolding after the announcement of Apple and Facebook’s latest benefit: Female employees can store and freeze their eggs on the company’s dime so that they can postpone pregnancy beyond the phase where they might want to just focus on their careers.


I put the case up for debate in my undergraduate classes on business ethics this week. It was a fascinating experience. To start, we assessed the upshot. There is a surge of female professionals who attempt at pregnancy in their forties and thus a surge in in-vitro fertilization and a host of other avenues to late motherhood luckily provided by progress in obstetrics these days. But there is also a fair number of women who just have to suck it up that by the time they can put their head around having babies, that ship has sailed.


Here, such an offer seems to be a big benefit. You can progress in an environment where your commitment to the job is 24/7 – like your male colleagues – and still enjoy motherhood at a later stage. And your babies will be built out of genetic material that is as good as it would have been had you dared at the impossible of merging both, career and motherhood. This policy indeed provides women with more options, more choice to freely decide what to do with their lives, their careers and their aspirations at the personal level.


But upon further scrutiny, my students unearthed three major problems. The first is fairly obvious: what is offered as an ‘option’ by the company may quickly become the ‘default’. What will happen now at Google if a 32 year old women tells her boss she wants to go on maternity leave? Given the options, she makes a statement clear and loud that she prefers her personal priorities over the company’s. In organizations, rules prescribe roles. This new option potentially excludes motherhood from what a ‘high potential’, future executive at Google should prioritize in her most fertile years.


A second focus of discussion turned out to unveil the unsaid. What about the male role in child bearing and rearing? The tacit assumption of such a policy seems to be that not a single of Apple or Facebook’s male employees will ever need similar help or support in his career because of having children. In some ways then the policy just reflects rather problematic gender stereotypes: mothers get distracted from their careers by having children; fathers just carry on as if nothing has happened. Yes, there are different biological constraints on women; but having and rearing a child also totally involves the father – unless he is a complete moron (or Google and Facebook’s model employee?). Fair enough, Facebook also extends an option to male employees to freeze their sperms: after all, a significant threat to post-40 pregnancy is not the female egg, but increasingly the deterioration of male sperm at that age. But the message is the same: postpone that baby business!


Which leads to a third objection which cuts to a deeper level. The age between 25 and 35 for a woman is the phase where biologically motherhood is the most likely. It is also the phase where most women are at the prime of their adulthood: mature enough to make tough life choices on partners and lifestyles, but also vibrant and physically energetic enough to dedicate full energy to their pursuits. By offering this option, aren’t Apple and Facebook just saying: ‘Give us the best years of your life, your kids can put up with whatever is left of you at a later stage’?


One of my students put it more bluntly: ‘If you translated this policy to other forms of discrimination in the workplace, such as racial discrimination, this would amount to saying to black people: “Look, you are very welcome here, but just to make it easier, we offer you this cream that will make your skin as white as everybody else’s here.”’ This new benefit essentially offers to a woman to be just like her male colleagues, happily stripped of all her female ‘impediments’. In some ways, that is gender discrimination at its worst.

Apple and Facebook deserve praise to recognize a common and pressing problem. Admittedly, they have policies regarding maternity benefits and childcare that are better than most other American companies. But the moral imagination they applied to this particular solution falls short of the creativity that made them billion dollar companies. If they are willing to throw $20,000 at the problem, why not offer more choice to both female and male employees? The women  (and men) contributing to the company are not just ‘human resources’ ready for maximum exploitation.
DM
Artwork by Keoni Kabral, reproduced under the Creative Commons License.


October 16th, 2014
„Grüne Unternehmen“: Patrick Mijnals spricht über die Gründungsphase des Startups bettervest


Eine Online-Plattform, über die Bürger Energieeffizienzprojekte finanzieren können und im Gegenzug finanziell an den erzielten Einsparungen beteiligt werden – diese Idee stellte der Zukunftsforscher Patrick Mijnals 2012 auf einem Startup-Weekend vor. Mit anderen Teilnehmern der Veranstaltung entwickelte er das Konzept weiter und gründete daraufhin bettervest. Über die Idee des Startups und Herausforderungen in der Gründungsphase berichtete Mijnals in Mannheim.

September 2nd, 2014
Verrottende Feldfrüchte und verlassene Märkte: Die wirtschaftlichen Folgen der Ebola-Epidemie


Die verheerende Ebola-Epidemie versetzt der Wirtschaft Westafrikas einen schweren Schlag. Die Ernte verrottet auf den Feldern, die Minen sind verlassen und die Märkte verwaist - das Virus hat der Region schwer zugesetzt. Auch einige internationale Unternehmen gehen bereits auf Distanz. "Die Ebola-Epidemie ist nicht nur eine medizinische Krise, sondern auch eine wirtschaftliche", urteilt der Chef der Afrikanischen Entwicklungsbank, Donald Kaberuka.

July 28th, 2014
Connex: Afrikanische Staaten bei Rohstoff-Verhandlungen stärken


Mit „Connex“ wollen die großen Industrienationen afrikanische Staaten für die Verhandlung mit Rohstoffkonzernen stärken. Über Details dieser neuen Initiative sprach CSR MAGAZIN mit einem ihrer Initiatoren, dem Persönlichen Afrikabeauftragten der Bundeskanzlerin, Günter Nooke (CDU).

June 26th, 2014
Disrupting management ideas



Over the last days we have seen a captivating debateunfolding. Jill Lepore’s article in The New Yorker on the concept of ‘disruptive innovation’ has garnered quite some attention. Not at least from its progenitor, Lepore’s Harvard colleague Clayton Christenen, who appears to be anything but amused.


Disruptive innovations - put simply - are new products or services that create new markets, while at the same time turning existing solutions to customer demands obsolete, and thus destroying existing markets and the companies that serve them. In his many books, Christensen initially developed the idea from a corporate context (such as his floppy disk, steel, or construction equipment examples) but it quickly branched out into other sectors.


The article is a fascinating read not just because it takes on an idea largely uncontested in academia and beyond. Moreover, the concept of ‘disruptive innovation’ had quite a substantial impact on the real world. Lepore writes as a historian and delineates the superficial and ideological nature of the idea. The piece is also worthwhile reading as it exposes Christensen’s ‘case study’ approach (after all, a hallmark of its intellectual birthplace) to thorough historical analysis. The latter perspective debunks and exposes the data at the heart of Christensen’s ‘disruption’ theory as utterly wanting.


Now it is always fun to question conventional wisdom and powerful ideas, especially when they come from a Harvard Business School professor recently honored as the No 1 in the Top50 Thinkers ranking. As some of our readers might remember, we also enjoyed doing a similar job on his colleague Michael Porter’s ‘big idea’ on Creating Shared Value earlier this year. But there is the danger that those skirmishes just remain internal quibbles inside the ivory tower of which another former Harvard colleague, Henry Kissinger, once said that they ‘are so vicious because there is so little at stake’…


Lepore’s article clearly goes beyond that. Two things seem worth highlighting. First, she contextualizes a management theory in a wider intellectual historical context, and second, she shows that as such management ideas are deeply ideological constructs:
"Beginning in the eighteenth century, as the intellectual historian Dorothy Ross once pointed out, theories of history became secular; then they started something new—historicism, the idea “that all events in historical time can be explained by prior events in historical time.” Things began looking up. First, there was that, then there was this, and this is better than that. The eighteenth century embraced the idea of progress; the nineteenth century had evolution; the twentieth century had growth and then innovation. Our era has disruption, which, despite its futurism, is atavistic. It’s a theory of history founded on a profound anxiety about financial collapse, an apocalyptic fear of global devastation, and shaky evidence. […] 
The idea of progress—the notion that human history is the history of human betterment—dominated the world view of the West between the Enlightenment and the First World War. It had critics from the start, and, in the last century, even people who cherish the idea of progress, and point to improvements like the eradication of contagious diseases and the education of girls, have been hard-pressed to hold on to it while reckoning with two World Wars, the Holocaust and Hiroshima, genocide and global warming. Replacing “progress” with “innovation” skirts the question of whether a novelty is an improvement: the world may not be getting better and better but our devices are getting newer and newer. […] 
The idea of innovation is the idea of progress stripped of the aspirations of the Enlightenment, scrubbed clean of the horrors of the twentieth century, and relieved of its critics. Disruptive innovation goes further, holding out the hope of salvation against the very damnation it describes: disrupt, and you will be saved."
Disruptive innovation in its reception in business, academia, public administration and politics had some rather devastating (side-)effects – as Lepore eloquently points out. The crucial lesson of her essay though lies in its unmasking of what sounds like a rather technocratic ‘theory’ as something that is deeply informed by a particular view of the world, by a particular normative take on how humans historically have evolved.

As the article points out, such functionalist and technocratic ‘theories’ totally ignore other dimensions of human life. ‘Disrupting’ – sold as a good thing and the natural way of how organizations evolve - ignores other important dimensions of human development, especially if the concept gets branched out and expedited beyond business to schools, hospitals, prisons, museums etc. The ethical implications of such a theory are totally ignored in Christensen’ framework – argues Lepore.

One central lesson of this article for everyone concerned with the role of business in contemporary society – be it academics, executives or politicians – points to the pivotal role of understanding the intellectual heritage and presuppositions of those core theories and ideas that have shaped contemporary social (incl. business) reality. In that sense, Lepore’s piece is a truly ‘critical’ contribution to management – and the set of historical ‘criteria’ by which she does the job should encourage particular management academics to move beyond the confines of their discipline. To understand the power of ideas we have to look at the broader picture of their origin, their contemporary drivers, but also their wider implications for society.


Photos (top by Andy Kaufman; middle by Nicolas Nova) reproduced under the Creative Commons license.


June 26th, 2014
Disrupting management ideas



Over the last days we have seen a captivating debateunfolding. Jill Lepore’s article in The New Yorker on the concept of ‘disruptive innovation’ has garnered quite some attention. Not at least from its progenitor, Lepore’s Harvard colleague Clayton Christenen, who appears to be anything but amused.


Disruptive innovations - put simply - are new products or services that create new markets, while at the same time turning existing solutions to customer demands obsolete, and thus destroying existing markets and the companies that serve them. In his many books, Christensen initially developed the idea from a corporate context (such as his floppy disk, steel, or construction equipment examples) but it quickly branched out into other sectors.


The article is a fascinating read not just because it takes on an idea largely uncontested in academia and beyond. Moreover, the concept of ‘disruptive innovation’ had quite a substantial impact on the real world. Lepore writes as a historian and delineates the superficial and ideological nature of the idea. The piece is also worthwhile reading as it exposes Christensen’s ‘case study’ approach (after all, a hallmark of its intellectual birthplace) to thorough historical analysis. The latter perspective debunks and exposes the data at the heart of Christensen’s ‘disruption’ theory as utterly wanting.


Now it is always fun to question conventional wisdom and powerful ideas, especially when they come from a Harvard Business School professor recently honored as the No 1 in the Top50 Thinkers ranking. As some of our readers might remember, we also enjoyed doing a similar job on his colleague Michael Porter’s ‘big idea’ on Creating Shared Value earlier this year. But there is the danger that those skirmishes just remain internal quibbles inside the ivory tower of which another former Harvard colleague, Henry Kissinger, once said that they ‘are so vicious because there is so little at stake’…


Lepore’s article clearly goes beyond that. Two things seem worth highlighting. First, she contextualizes a management theory in a wider intellectual historical context, and second, she shows that as such management ideas are deeply ideological constructs:
"Beginning in the eighteenth century, as the intellectual historian Dorothy Ross once pointed out, theories of history became secular; then they started something new—historicism, the idea “that all events in historical time can be explained by prior events in historical time.” Things began looking up. First, there was that, then there was this, and this is better than that. The eighteenth century embraced the idea of progress; the nineteenth century had evolution; the twentieth century had growth and then innovation. Our era has disruption, which, despite its futurism, is atavistic. It’s a theory of history founded on a profound anxiety about financial collapse, an apocalyptic fear of global devastation, and shaky evidence. […] 
The idea of progress—the notion that human history is the history of human betterment—dominated the world view of the West between the Enlightenment and the First World War. It had critics from the start, and, in the last century, even people who cherish the idea of progress, and point to improvements like the eradication of contagious diseases and the education of girls, have been hard-pressed to hold on to it while reckoning with two World Wars, the Holocaust and Hiroshima, genocide and global warming. Replacing “progress” with “innovation” skirts the question of whether a novelty is an improvement: the world may not be getting better and better but our devices are getting newer and newer. […] 
The idea of innovation is the idea of progress stripped of the aspirations of the Enlightenment, scrubbed clean of the horrors of the twentieth century, and relieved of its critics. Disruptive innovation goes further, holding out the hope of salvation against the very damnation it describes: disrupt, and you will be saved."
Disruptive innovation in its reception in business, academia, public administration and politics had some rather devastating (side-)effects – as Lepore eloquently points out. The crucial lesson of her essay though lies in its unmasking of what sounds like a rather technocratic ‘theory’ as something that is deeply informed by a particular view of the world, by a particular normative take on how humans historically have evolved.

As the article points out, such functionalist and technocratic ‘theories’ totally ignore other dimensions of human life. ‘Disrupting’ – sold as a good thing and the natural way of how organizations evolve - ignores other important dimensions of human development, especially if the concept gets branched out and expedited beyond business to schools, hospitals, prisons, museums etc. The ethical implications of such a theory are totally ignored in Christensen’ framework – argues Lepore.

One central lesson of this article for everyone concerned with the role of business in contemporary society – be it academics, executives or politicians – points to the pivotal role of understanding the intellectual heritage and presuppositions of those core theories and ideas that have shaped contemporary social (incl. business) reality. In that sense, Lepore’s piece is a truly ‘critical’ contribution to management – and the set of historical ‘criteria’ by which she does the job should encourage particular management academics to move beyond the confines of their discipline. To understand the power of ideas we have to look at the broader picture of their origin, their contemporary drivers, but also their wider implications for society.


Photos (top by Andy Kaufman; middle by Nicolas Nova) reproduced under the Creative Commons license.


June 24th, 2014
Verbraucher-Ampel kann falsche Sicherheit vortäuschen


München (csr-news) >  Die Kennzeichnung von Produkteigenschaften durch ein Ampel-System beeinflusst Verbraucher in ihrer Kaufentscheidung. Eine Studie Münchner und französischer Wissenschaftler zeigt nun erstmals, dass dies nicht nur für Lebensmittel, sondern auch für Finanzprodukte gilt – allerdings nicht immer in der Weise, die



May 13th, 2014
The Ethics of Danger Pay


How much is a human life worth? Or, to put a finer point on it, how much is your life worth, to you? How much would you have to be paid in order to risk your life as part of your job? It is sometimes said that you can’t put a price on a human […]

May 13th, 2014
Viele Umweltinvestments locken mit einseitig positiven Werbebotschaften


Bremen (csr-news) > Bei vielen Finanzprodukten, mit denen sich der Umwelt- und Klimaschutz unterstützen lässt, werben Anbieter mit einseitig positiven Botschaften, um Anleger zu gewinnen. Zu diesem Ergebnis kommt das Projekt "Klimafreundliche Geldanlage" der Verbraucherzentrale Bremen, das Werbeaussagen von insgesamt 36 Finanzprodukten mit



March 23rd, 2014
Dow Jones Sustainability Index


Beim Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) handelt sich um eine Familie von Aktienindices, die die nachhaltigsten Unternehmen einer Region oder Industrie enthalten. Die Familie besteht aus dem globalen Index 'DJSI World' sowie Indices für verschiedene geografische Regionen (u.a. Europa, Nordamerika, Asien-Pazifik) und



February 12th, 2014
Special Olympics Düsseldorf 2014 sucht Corporate Volunteers


Die Veranstalter der nationalen Sportwettkämpfe für Menschen mit geistiger Behinderung im Mai in Düsseldorf suchen weitere ehrenamtliche Mitarbeiter. „Unternehmen in der Region Düsseldorf, überlegt Euch, ob Ihr Euch einer solchen Maßnahme, in der es nicht nur um Auszubildende gehen muss, anschließen wollt“, sagte Düsseldorfs Sozialdezernent Burkhard Hintzsche heute bei einer Pressekonferenz in seiner Stadt. Düsseldorf bietet seinen 450 Auszubildenden eine Freistellung für die Teilnahme an. Corporate Volunteers sind seit Jahren ein wichtiger Bestandteil des Organisationsteams.
















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