Monday, March 13, 2006

Took The Plunge!

The good news is...I ordered me a hemp wallet from The bad news's coming from California by UPS. Crap! I thought it'd be from Toronto.

But wait! Is that really a bad thing? Fortune recently listed "America's Most Admired" companies and among them was UPS. Read on:

UPS. Tops on our Most Admired list of top ten socially responsible firms for the third consecutive year, Big Brown does good for its workers, the environment and, not least, the global economy -- by delivering 14.8 million packages a day to more than 200 countries. It's no exaggeration to say that if UPS were to shut down, much of global commerce would grind to a halt.

The $42.6-billion-a-year Atlanta-based company is a leader in sustainability and philanthropy. It strives to increase the fuel efficiency and decrease the emissions of its massive fleet, in part by deploying about 1,500 alternative fuel vehicles that are powered by electricity, natural gas, propane and hydrogen. Meanwhile, UPS's corporate foundation gave away about $43 million last year, focusing on hunger, literacy and voluntarism.

What's most impressive about UPS, though, is its commitment to its people. It hires lots of immigrants and poor people and offers them a chance to pursue the American dream. Many UPSers, as they are known, join the company after high school or college, drive a package car or work in an office and stick around for 30 or 40 years, until they retire. They do so because the company provides good pay, health-care benefits, tuition assistance, a stock purchase plan, a chance to advance and a shared sense of purpose. Moving all those packages around is no easy task. Words like teamwork and loyalty and community still mean a lot at UPS.

Starbucks. A pioneer in the area of corporate responsibility, Starbucks broke the mold in the fast-food industry by offering health-care benefits and stock (called "bean stock") even to part-time workers. It is now forging partnerships with coffee growers around the world that are designed to give growers a fair price for their beans -- often higher than the so-called Fair Trade price -- and to promote sound environmental practices. Starbucks also seeks to become more "green" at the retail level by, for instance, offering a 10-cent discount to customers who bring their own cups.

"They are innovative, distinctive, commendable and unfortunately not copied by many other companies," says David Vogel, who teaches at Berkeley's Haas School of Business and is the author of The Market for Virtue: The Potential and Limits of Corporate Social Responsibility. Seattle-based Starbucks generated $6.4 billion in revenues last year.

Full list here.

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