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Ethical Outsourcing
Alex Steffen, 10 Nov 04

Industry analyst Anthony Mitchell looks at IT outsourcing to India and finds that not only are poor environmental and labor practices more common than any of us would hope, but they can adversely impact business:

"The extent of the pollution in India by firms profiting from the IT outsourcing boom is impossible to hide. This is a country where less than half of all sewage is treated and where regulatory agencies have generally lacked the authority, independence or sophistication to implement basic environmental protections. ...However, some outsourcing project managers are finding that there is a strong correlation between poor environmental performance and unethical business practices."

Mitchell recommends outsourcing companies adopt a three-part mimimum standard: "1. Fair treatment of employees and contractors, especially in regard to non-discrimination in hiring, promotion, and the prompt full payment of compensation; 2. Protection of confidential information and non-circumvention of U.S. clients; 3. Environmental responsibility by outsourcers, contractors, and their parent firms."

We're big believers here in both the power of the developing world to innovate and need for it to leapfrog to clean technologies. Ethical outsourcing policies could be a spur to both.

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Huh? Isn't the entire appeal of outsourcing the fact that you're able to dodge those pesky 20th century humane labor practices?

Posted by: Mark on 10 Nov 04

Not necessarily. Sometimes a company can save on labor and still pay a good wage by local standards. All too often, though, escaping standards IS the point.

Posted by: Jane Shevtsov on 10 Nov 04

As the number one polluting nation in the world, a call for environmental accountability and ethics coming from any America would be a litte bit hypocritical.

Has anybody seen the recent articles about the melting north pole? Articles like "New shipping lanes to open, seen as boon for trade." Glass is half full optimism?

Posted by: Mr. Magoo on 11 Nov 04



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