Global corporate responsibility: Nowhere to hide

Just came across this piece on the Environmental Investigation Agency’s website.

It’s about forest clearances using fire, in Indonesia. The practice is banned.

The EIA says a particular firm is still doing it.

The point I want to make here is not about the truth of the allegation or otherwise.

It’s about the monitoring method:

“On June 24, 2011, EIA/Telapak researchers learned that satellites using Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) to monitor for fires and hotspots across South East Asia had registered a high percentage certainty of a fire within the concession area of PT Menteng Jaya Sawit Perdana on June 22-23.

MODIS data is the basis of the near-real-time hotspots monitoring tool provided free by the Fire Information for Resource Management System (FIRMS), funded by NASA.”

Technology is only becoming cheaper and more widespread. Lots of it is free, and more will be so in the future.

Real-time data flows will mean much for corporate reputations in the coming decades.

Monitoring of companies, and their suppliers, is on the rise.

That has good and bad results for both business and society.

One of the positive results from an accountability perspective is that there really are fewer and fewer places left to hide.

That’s bad news if someone hits you with untrue allegations of course. That’s the bigger risk of the two perhaps.

The only solution there is to have as many friends as possible, all over the world.

That’s the modern business case for responsible company practices, if you still needed one.

Tweeting employees, 3 and 4G mobile networks, satellite monitoring, Google Earth. SMS, MMS, email, digital photos, and the next communications platform we haven’t yet heard of.

The digital accountability revolution has only just begun. We ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Better to embrace it than hide from it. Pretty soon, running won’t be an option.

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