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Alcoa is at it again!

Ahead of seeking approval from the state government for a range of environmental approvals around its mines and refineries, Alcoa has announced that they will not renew a contract worth $70 million per year with locally operated Adbri-owned Cockburn Cement.

Premier Mark McGowan is now scrambling to reverse this decision, who along with unions and Adbri CEO Nick Miller, is demanding an explanation. No doubt the required environmental approvals will be factored into any discussions.

After playing a major part in the defeat of the previous (Liberal) State Government, and after destroying the property rights of landowners without compensation, Alcoa continues its attempts to buy political favours.

To add insult to injury, Alcoa does not even stand up for the beneficial role of industry and business in society. In her book How to be Profitable and Moral Dr Jaana Woiceshyn names Alcoa Australia as an example of poor corporate citizenship, because of their inability to explain that corporation’s purpose as outlined in the below excerpt:

The movie The Corporation, released in 2004, is a Marxist critique of “corporate greed” and business and profit-making in general.  It portrays big corporations as ruthless brutes who do not hesitate to trample over dead bodies in the pursuit of profit.  Yet, the CEO of Alcoa Australia who participated in a public roundtable on the movie not once criticized it.  Instead, he meekly offered that Alcoa’s biggest challenge was to be “in tune with society.”

Not only has Alcoa failed to correct this misrepresentation; its publicity department maintains that the movie raised the company’s profile!

Yet, very few business leaders realize this or have the courage or willingness to speak out in defence of business.  Instead, they embrace the fuzzy and hazardous notions of “corporate social responsibility” and “sustainability.”[1]

Not only does Alcoa lack courage in failing to speak up in defence of business, it perpetuates all that is wrong with ‘crony capitalism’ by continuing to partake in behaviour that damages business in the eyes of the general public.

Alcoa, how about fronting up to your corporate responsibilities and setting a good example for the next generation? It is about time!

[1] Page 134 from How to be Profitable and Moral by Jaana Woiceshyn Ph.D. Jaana Woiceshyn holds a Ph.D in applied economics from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.  She has taught business ethics for over twenty years to undergraduates, MBA and Executive MBA students and to various corporate audiences at the Haskayne School of Business University of Calgary and elsewhere.  This is her first book.

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