Latest Op Ed: Using Global Ethics as Strategic Advantage


Latest Op Ed: Using Global Ethics as Strategic Advantage

Many thanks to for publishing my latest Op Ed on Using Global Ethics as Strategic Advantage: How thoughtful incorporation of ethics can prove strategically effective and profitable. The original post is here and an abstract follows below. They would like me to begin writing a column for them so branded it with the Language of Business logo.


Executives often treat global ethics defensively— they follow internationally accepted rules of engagement to allow themselves to sleep better at night and as insurance against a prison sentence. Or they go through periodic ethics training to check off the box of completion.

When applied proactively, however, ethics also proves strategically effective and profitable.

The benefit emerges from closely tying global ethics to a broad-based social responsibility program—in short, analyzing a business holistically to see how every aspect of its operations, from services in the HR benefits office to shop-floor uniforms, can be optimized for strategic gain.

One of my BU colleagues often uses a simple ballpoint pen to drive this point home. She’ll ask me: Who produces the ink and do those workers receive a living wage? If portions of the pen are imported, does each country subscribe to OSHA-quality international employment conventions? Is the pen’s mechanical assembly fully recyclable?

Though I’m the first to concede that viewing a company’s operations through a social responsibility lens originally took some getting used to, for a Millennial, it’s as commonplace as carrying a cellphone. Their demographic even takes this one step further—a good lesson for the rest of us—and goes out of their way to frequent and support companies whose operations practice what they ethically preach. This is far removed from boycotts based on Apartheid in the ’90s or consumer boycotts in the ’00s, and is actually far closer to brand management and the lifetime value of a customer.


About Author

Greg Stoller is actively involved in building entrepreneurship and international business programs at Boston University in the Questrom School of Business. He teaches courses in entrepreneurship, global strategy and management and runs the Asian International Management Experience Program, and the Asian International Consulting Project.

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