General Mills heads list of top corporate citizens
Date: 2 Apr 2003
General Mills, Cummins Inc and Intel have been named as Business Ethics Magazine's Best Corporate Citizens for 2003. General Mills achieved the top slot having originally come in at No 67 in the 2000 listing primarily for its service to the community and to women and minorities.
For instance, the company has funded a partnership between Glory Foods, a minority-based food company, and the Stairstep Initiative, a community organisation, to create Siyeza Inc. General Mills invested $2m to create 150 jobs in a company where the employees will be owners.
According to Business Ethics, General Mills is distinguished in that it funds an organisation's operating costs, which it says is a good indication of its long term commitment to communities. "Business ethics and corporate social responsibility are bedrocks of our culture", said Siri Marshall, senior vice president of corporate affairs for General Mills.
Cummins was particularly commended for its practice of giving out micro-loans to jump-start small businesses near its overseas plants.
Intel received its high score as a result of dual areas of excellence in service to employees and the environment. For instance, Intel has a strong Environmental Health & Safety programme which sees it working to upgrade solid waste handling in places like Malaysia and China to standards higher than those practiced locally. For employees, Intel offers 22 weeks of maternity leave, 10 more weeks than the federal mandate.
Not everyone who initially made the list stayed there, however. Business Ethics said that they had pulled UnumProvident from the list after a California jury in January ruled the company had acted with fraud and malice in denying disability payments. "No matter how good their community programmes or environmental policies might be, such behaviour does not constitute good citizenship", the magazine said.
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