Just a shot of ethicality

Nestle has caused confusion among right-on activists with its new fair-trade coffee.

by Richard Reeves

Words are just like people: as one dies, another is born. Newborn words are also as ugly as newborn babies (to all except their creators, of course). Soon enough, though, they grow until we can't imagine life without them. Where would we be without hot-desking, downsizing and offshoring?

And so, I suppose, we should be kind to the latest linguistic arrival, 'ethicality'.

The new addition to our word-hoard is certain to get a good run, because ethicality is a growing business issue. Ethics officers are popping up in many corporations. Ethical investment is an established niche in the capital markets. Corporate social responsibility is (supposedly) about sharpening a firm's ethical edge. And now Nestle has caused mass confusion among right-on activists by launching a fair-trade coffee.

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