Posts tagged ‘Vodafone’

January 30, 2011

Damned if you do, damned if you don’t

RIM in India refuses to agree to the government and is slammed. Vodafone in Egypt accedes to the government’s demand and is slammed.

What is the right stance in such situations? Can there be a legitimate global code of conduct that guides multinational brands in all such situations? Or at least most of them. And can this code accommodate the challenge of local disparities in legal and cultural situations? Companies have been known to quietly taken advantage of loop holes in local laws. And when these generally arbitrary legal systems have turned around to bite, they have complained and protested. In India it is not just multinationals who have done.The local biggies have led the way. 

Is there a World Corporate Council – and we are not talking about a wining and dining three-day festivals of grunts and groans – anywhere on this globe? No probably nothing serious and committed to taking dilemmas by the horn. 

Just as with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, can there be a single universal people oriented code of corporate conduct that we can use to see whether our actions are legally right or wrong ? Global law versus local law is a debate in the human rights space. Can business join in? 

When local governments violate human and social rights, is there any way for companies to come together and take them on? Without business there is no economy and without an economy there is no government. Think of the clout business in every country really carries to make the right kind of changes. BUT… have to take the people with you. Are the people with business today?

A fitting end to this piece is an articulate and objective view of Davos this year: