Title: Sexual v business ethics - the Derek Corporation Credit: Craig Young Comment Tuesday 4th May 2004 - 12:00pm1083628800 Article: 234 Rights
Craig Young ponders the connections and ethics surrounding the anti-gay Maxim Institute and the Derek Corporation. Why does the Maxim Institute never mention business ethics and ethical senior corporate management issues on its website? Does it have something to do with its chief sponsor, the Derek Corporation? The Derek Corporation was founded by Derek Batts, and his son, Campbell Batts, is current managing director of the company. The corporation sells textiles and souvenirs to the public sector and private sector alike. For the Rendells chain, they sell under the Marlborough House brand for manchester and other household products. Both Batts attend the Greenlane Christian Centre, where Graeme Lee is one of the ministers. Lee was a former National cabinet minister (1990-93) and left to form the Christian Democrats before he turned it over to Anthony Walton. That party then morphed into Future New Zealand, before its second coalition with the United Party and its current United Future incarnation. As for the Greenlane Christian Centre itself, it hosted an Education Development Foundation symposium on 'marriage and the family,' where Lynn Wardle, a conservative Mormon opponent of same-sex marriage, was one of the overseas guests. The EDF evolved into the Maxim Institute in 2001. For a fundamentalist-run business, the Derek Corporation has an odd sense of corporate morality, however. In the New Zealand Commerce Commission's 2002-03 Annual Report, the Derek Corporation is cited for allegedly failing to comply with clothing and footwear labelling requirements for countries of origin, which is covered under Section 13 (j) of the Fair Trading Act 1986. While it is the case that this seems a comparatively minor offence under this legislation, it is not what one would expect from a fundamentalist Christian business. This raises an interesting question about the Maxim Institute's rather selective sense of morality when it comes to business ethics. It is true that the National Business Review, ACT New Zealand and the Business Roundtable are linked to the organisation on their respective websites, but business ethics and ethical senior management practices are not mentioned on Maxim's website. This is odd, given the recent spate of corporate senior management scandals and creative accounting within the United States. Apparently, the Maxim Institute is so focused on policing definitions of 'marriage' and 'the family' that it turns a blind eye to issues of lax corporate ethical conduct. Does the Maxim Institute lack access to specifically skilled business ethicists within its religious and business community networks? Or is this related to a darker conflict of interest that involves not drawing attention to questionable corporate ethical conduct? These are legitimate questions that should be raised. Moreover, it raises some important issues about whether or not the Derek Corporation should remain a supplier to government departments, given these revelations about its recent past. Source: Commerce Commission Annual Report 2002-03: Craig Young - 4th May 2004    
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