Fossil fuel companies are on an ongoing quest to wreck our climate. Energy providers are making eye-watering profits while millions of us struggle to pay our bills. Water companies have been neglecting their responsibilities for decades, filling our rivers with filth and wrecking our beaches. In times like this, it’s more important than ever to put a stop to corporate evil.
Corporate evil versus social responsibility
Being a decent person means not grabbing all the resources for yourself. It means causing no harm, taking care of your fellow humans, being generous, kind, and unselfish. It’s natural, it’s instinctive, and it’s a workable framework for a good life.
Most companies are responsible and considerate in a business context. They don’t cause harm. But a toxic corporate entity is different. It might give a nod to Corporate Social Responsibility but too often CSR is a cynical smokescreen for ‘business as usual’.
A toxic organisation can’t feel the same sense of personal responsibility a human being. It’s a profit machine. However it generates money, however evil its methods are, it’s fair game.
Take Shell, whose obscene profits support the ongoing destruction they’ve long been responsible for. Most people are disgusted by Shell’s behaviour. But those on the executive committees of evil businesses like Shell, water companies and energy providers are able to forget their moral codes and human responsibilities. It’s easy to hide behind the role, focusing on financial goals without guilt or shame.
Evil business’ moral priorities are skewed by an obligation to please shareholders. That’s why we pay too much for our gas and electricity. That’s why our rivers are full of shit and our beaches are filthy. That’s why it costs more than £400 for a return train ticket between the south west and the north east of England. For too many privatised companies profits come before common sense, with no thought for the welfare of future generations.
Evil corporate thinking
Next time you hear about an airport wanting to build another runway even though we all know air travel has a devastating impact on our climate, it’s corporate evil at work. When you read about a company cutting down rainforests to grow palm oil, it’s a toxic business doing its thing. If you see a brand making people redundant even though its profits run to billions it isn’t just short-sighted thinking. It’s corporate evil: influential people working in a context that encourages or even forces them to behave badly, in a way no reasonable human being would dream of.
Politics takes things to extremes. You might be shocked at the UK’s crap trade deals with far-flung countries, or horrified by Sunak’s support for new fossil fuel exploration. As an individual you can see it’s crazy to import goods from half way across the planet and support industries that are wrecking the futures of our children. Humanity doesn’t come into it. Nor does common sense. It’s pure evil.
It’s hard to believe these toxic businesses are made up of decent human beings. If you or I did the things these companies get up to, we’d be lampooned. But as cogs in a soul-less money-making machine, people can get away with behaving very badly indeed.
How values based consumerism forces business to behave better
As ordinary folk, our power is limited. As a huge crowd with cash in our pockets, we can redress the balance by supporting corporate entities with the same values as ours.
The only way to turn these monstrous organisations around is through their bank balances. So next time you hear about a business behaving badly, stop buying from them and free your conscience. Adopt values based consumerism, do the decent thing, then pat yourself on the back for doing your bit to stop corporate evil in its tracks.