Corporations shouldn’t excuse bad behvaiour by saying their first duty is to shareholders

I think it’s a shameful and swaggering when corporations say that they can’t be ethical because their first responsibility is to their shareholders. Rubbish.

The shareholders are investing in the company (or they ought to be) to gain a profit AS they help the company fulfill it’s mission.

I like the Johnson & Johnson ‘Credo’ statement that begins:

We believe our first responsibility is to the doctors, nurses and patients, to mothers and fathers and all others who use our products and services. In meeting their needs everything we do must be of high quality. We must constantly struve to reduce our costs in order to maintain reasonable prices. Customers’ orders must be serviced promptly and accurately. Our suppliers and distributors must have an opportunity to make a fair profit.

And ends:

Our final responsibility is to our stockhodlers. Businesses must make a sound profit. We must experiment with new ideas. Research must be carried on, innovative programs developed and mistakes paid for. New equipment must be purchased, new facilities provided and new products launched. Reserves must be created to provide for advserse times. When we operate according to these principles, the stockholders should realize a fair return.

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