Multi-national business ethics on parade

Wednesday, March 08, 2006 at 05:22 PM

I couldn't resist posting this small, relatively insignificant example of the lack of ethics in international business.  A UK news site reports that a multi-national energy firm, called "E.ON UK," stuffed the electronic ballot box at a UK newspaper trying to take a poll on whether it was a good idea to  build seven 355-foot wind turbines on Denshaw Moor in Oldham, Greater Manchester, as the enrgy company was proposing to do.

People at the newspaper got suspicious when a large surge of "Yes" votes suddenly were submitted.  An investigation revealed that 104 votes had been cast by E.ON UK staff in just 90 minutes.

The company's response shows that corporate PR people are the same in the UK as in the US:

The firm has now admitted that staff voted in favour of the wind farm project, but claimed they were not instructed to do so by bosses.

A spokesman said: "Members of the Renewables Team wanted to show their support for the project but picked an inappropriate way to do it."

My question for all the zealous deregulators out there, who insist that the bulk of businesses are plenty ethical enough on their own:  If a company or its employees would pull this crap over an issue this small, for a poll that doesn't even matter in terms of getting approval, exactly what wouldn't they pull?