Trust Digest 66 (September 30, 2014)
Secret Tapes Pull Back Curtain on Goldman Sachs
In 2009 the Federal Reserve Bank of New York set out to investigate why US government officials were so blind to the Wall Street crash of 2008. Why were they unable to forecast the oncoming financial crisis? Why did the economic contagion nearly topple the whole global financial system? The fault, according to an independent review by Columbia University Prof David Beim, was that the government regulators were too deferential to the banks they were supposed to oversee. Within the New York Fed, employees were urged by their supervisors to look the other way when they found violations and to temper critical reports.
Key Words: Federal Reserve, Goldman Sachs, Financial Crisis
Trust Issues: Transparency, Accountability, Capability
Business and Society: Defining the 'Social Licence'
Business leaders, politicians and civil society set a common direction towards new global agreements on climate change at the UN climate conference in New York last week. Next year will also see a new set of global goals to meet the world’s most pressing development and sustainability problems. Direct involvement of the private sector is no longer debated. It is now a question of how much and some studies suggest that at least $1tn of private investment is needed.
Key Words: CSR, Public-Private-Partnerships
Trust Issues: Sustainability, Responsibility
US Versus China Corruption: Same, Same but Different
The T-shirts on sale in Thailand proclaiming "same same, but different" take on new meaning when it comes to contrasting corruption - and how it is prosecuted - in Asia (or at least China) and the United States. As Bob and Maureen McDonnell, the former Virginia governor and first lady, face years in prison due to a recent corruption conviction, one can understand if Chinese state media were to have a bit of fun at America's expense. Yes, Virginia, there is an ethics clause.
Key Words: Corruption, US, China, Media
Trust Issues: Transparency, Accountability, Integrity
Recycle That Headquarters
Two recent dispatches from the frontiers of office design: a drone video of the vast circular excavations for Apple’s new Cupertino headquarters, and the news that Weyerhaeuser, the tree- and forest-products company, was selling its own earthwork-like 1971 building to move to Pioneer Square, in downtown Seattle. These projects have more in common—for better and for worse—than you might think. Weyerhaeuser (shrinking) is giving up the suburbs of Federal Way, Washington, for the dream of urban connection, even as growing companies drape themselves in vines to make their out-of-town locations seem like the earth-friendly choice.
Key Words: Apple, Weyerhaeuser, Green Building
Trust Issues: Sustainability
Culture: The Most Overlooked Element of Audits
A recent report presented by The Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors identified the clear need to conduct audits on corporate culture and called for internal auditors to incorporate culture as a key aspect of their audit processes — a drastic change to traditional auditing processes, which evaluate quantifiable aspects of business such as inventory and compliance. As a more nebulous and complex aspect of business, culture isn’t something many companies are used to measuring — nor do they really know how.
Key Words: Internal Audit, Culture
Trust Issues: Communication, Alignment of Interests
Signaling Post-Snowden Era, New iPhone Locks out NSA
Devoted customers of Apple products these days worry about whether the new iPhone 6 will bend in their jean pockets. The National Security Agency and the nation's law enforcement agencies have a different concern: that the smartphone is the first of a post-Snowden generation of equipment that will disrupt their investigative abilities. The phone encrypts emails, photos and contacts based on a complex mathematical algorithm that uses a code created by, and unique to, the phone's user — and that Apple says it will not possess.
Key Words: iPhone 6, Snowden, Encryption
Trust Issues: Transparency, Privacy, Regulation
New Documents Show Legal Basis for NSA Surveillance Programs
(Reuters) - Documents released by the U.S. government show it views an executive order issued in 1981 as the basis of most of the National Security Agency's surveillance activities, the American Civil Liberties Union said on Monday. The NSA relied on Executive Order 12333 more than it did on two other laws that have been the focus of public debate following the leaks exposing U.S. surveillance programs by former agency contractor Edward Snowden, according to the papers released by the ACLU.
Key Words: NSA, Surveillance, Executive Order
Trust Issues: Privacy, Transparency, Accountability