Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘B enterprises

Idiosyncrasy in “accreditation”: Academic, Institutions, and States? (Jan. 2, 2010)

In a previous post I described a recent certification process for B enterprises. This article is to provide further explanation on how these “accreditation organizations” are launched, prosper, and fade away. Generally, in societies not centrally controlled, you have, now and then, a few “accredited” members in every discipline or syndicate making waves on the ground that “performance” (ethics, standard of knowledge, training, transparency…) is declining and that the discipline has to be reformed; then, they start a certification process that never goes far because money is generated when an idea catch up with the awareness wave of the public.

For example, the certifying organization that issue B (for benefit) rate to enterprises that sign up to demonstrate that they are socially and environmentally performing has hired 12 employees across the USA to do “random” audits: every two years, a B enterprise has to ask to renew its certification, pay for certification renewal even if it was not audited.  This is how certification organization make money: they get paid for doing nothing after the first issuing of certification for many years until it is discredited for fraud or when the original entrepreneurs are discovered not to be passionate and resilient enough to bar companies’ gimmick of using a certification for “green washing” their image instead of investing on programs with tangible results. The B certification organization is currently working on a budget of $1.5 million and growing exponentially but it has proven to be conscientious and meaning to improve business practices.

Certification organizations enjoy gold mine businesses when supported by political institutions or deep pocket multinationals aiming at destroying independent competitors.  When you hear “accreditation” the first thing that come to mind are academic institutions. Renowned universities expand overseas and extend their names to local universities after submitting to accreditation procedures. It is the process that is interesting because university administration and staff scramble to communicate with one another, concentrate meeting sessions among professors who never talk with one another, encourage emailing ideas, suggestions, programs, result data, graphs, sophisticated presentation gimmicks, gastronomic explorations, touring campaigns, and whatever is necessary to offering a good image to the accreditation team.

In most cases, the accreditation team is enjoying his stay and being paid lavishly for just listening to good natured “professors” who are making a living the harsh way until opportunity knock to participating in accreditation teams. Business is business and no hard feelings are supposed to tarnish a excellent profitable business that parents of student pay for an imaginary piece of paper certifying that their offspring graduated from such a “certified university” and recognized by a developed country. Sure, after graduation the student is automatically admitted to continue his higher education as long as money is available. This naïve student, who never opened a book and barely can write in his own language, is asked to read half a dozen books per week in an exotic language and write analyses of what he read. As if professors are paid to teach! Professors are meant to be “advisors”, mentor, and abuse students to do their own projects contracted out from companies.

I hear that when a professor is awarded the Nobel Prize or any other recognized international award that students are cognizant of then the professor receive a “chair” from the university and maybe a building is named after him or occasionally, a building is erected in his honor.  It is the latest university that gets all the honors and the others academic institutions that taught the “professor” are irrelevant. In return the university expects increase in enrollment: the students want to ogle the “chair” but the chair is empty.  The professor is more comfortable on his rickety chair, in a secluded environment.

We join syndicates such as Real Estates or mortgage loan officers.  We are asked to pass a test before we sign in as members after paying our dues.  The tests are basically about your knowledge of the laws, regulations, and rules of the game. You may pass the test but your lawyer fill have no ground to prove that you are totally stupid to have passed the test. You may end up making money by trial and errors at your own expenses because the tests are not related to acquiring any knowledge of the practice.  People who are not members of syndicates can practice the job and go unpunished because they did not pay money to be punished and learn the laws and regulations!

The same mentality goes to nuclear proliferation signatories. Iran and North Korea mistakenly signed up on that treaty.  India and Israel refused to sign the treaty and they can do whatever they want. Iran and North Korea have to suffer the ignominies of the UN veto members. Treaties are hell that open the doors to superpowers to control your independence with no return for your good will!

Certified B; (Jan. 1st, 2010)

Here you have three “entrepreneurs” who were acquainted at the University of Stanford launching a certification procedure in 2006.  This start up organization was funded for its first 30 months by the Rockefeller Foundation; the idea is to prepared a questionnaire of about 200 questions (obviously, aided by “certified” expert companies) that interested companies willing to submit to the audit and respond to the questionnaire will be issued a “B” grade for benefits as virtuous and transparent enterprises.  The certification is rendered according to five criteria:

First, the enterprise has to explicitly integrate “social performance” (impact on local community, employees, clients, and out sources) in its mission declaration.

Second, it has to explicitly integrate “environmental performance” (ecological building, renewable energies) in its mission.

Third, it has to share financial information with employees (obviously, except individual salary).

Fourth, it has to divulge the proportion of high ranking cadres that is being evaluated routinely in function of objectives related to social and environmental performance.

Fifth, it has to be totally transparent on all political contributions and expenses for lobbying interest groups.

The interested enterprise has to include in its statutory documents recognition of its responsibilities.  The enterprise will cough up one dollar for each $1,000 on its net profit as expense for the certification up to $25,000.  Any company making $ 3 million per year in profit will be willing to pay $3,000 to “green-wash” its image: most companies pay a lot on green propaganda since the trend awareness is “ecologically correct”.  The main barrier is for the organization to be passionate and motivated to make sure that investment on ads by B enterprise is not higher than money spent on program with tangible results.

What other advantages B enterprises get for being certified? The municipal council of Philadelphia has officially recognized the mark B and is offering $4,000 of tax free credit for each B company. It is assumed that environmentally minded investors who care for social and environmental impacts will give priority to B enterprises!  Actually, it is the extended network of socially and environmentally minded companies that prefer to do business with like minded enterprises that is the most profitable for being certified B.

So far, 240 firms have signed up in 28 States for a total of $7 billion in sales. What are the stats? 72% of the B enterprises use renewable energies; 50% gave incentives to employees to commuting in public transports; 44% engaged in systems of employee’s shareholding.

The certifying organization hired 12 employees across the USA to do “random” audits: every two years, a B enterprise has to ask to renew its certification, a pay for certification renewal even if it was not audited.  This is how certification organization make money: they get paid for doing nothing after the first issuing of certification for many years until it is discredited for fraud. The B certification organization is currently working on a budget of $1.5 million and growing exponentially.

This mania of widespread certification organizations is gold mine: now and then, a few “accredited” members in every discipline or syndicate make waves on the ground that “performance” (ethics, standard of knowledge, training, transparency…) is declining and that the discipline has to be reformed; then, they start a certification process that never goes far because money is generated when an idea catch up with the awareness wave of the public.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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