Be careful who you send your resume to!


Anne-Maria Yritys 2017. All rights reserved.

I recently received an e-mail from a New York-based executive search firm with a note that they received my details by an outside talent source firm, stating that they are looking to fill C-level positions for one of their client´s recent acquisitions, and if I possibly would be interested in learning more. 

Since the e-mail was sent to one of my many e-mail addresses, and not my primary e-mail, it took me a week before I even noticed it. Instead of sending them my resume and based upon my earlier experiences, I sent a response by e-mail asking them if they could give me details about the talent sourcing firm that had referred me, who their client is, and where these roles would geographically be located. Within only a few hours they got back to me, per e-mail, stating that they cannot give any details about their client until a non disclosure agreement has been signed.
As a response, I sent them the links to my website, my LinkedIn and Twitter profiles with a brief note that they can find my resume there. I have grown aware of recruiting firms and headhunters collecting people´s CV´s and resumes, many of whom lack the effort of doing their job well, i.e. fail in ever getting back to their customer/s. Be really careful/selective about who you send your CV/resume/other personal data to, since many recruitment firms seem only to be interested in gathering people´s personal data rather than actually having a purpose of really filling out a position. Which is why I am, these days, extremely selective about sending out my CV/resume to anyone, if at all!
I know loads of professionals in the headhunting/recruitment industry and have inside information. With the professional networks that I have online, I could even start my own headhunting/recruiting firm but quite honestly, I have seen too much in order to be willing to do so.
In Finland, most jobs get filled either through sourcing internal candidates or by other means, rather than through online/offline announcements. Most of the work announcements online and offline have mainly a purpose of serving the recruitment firm as an advertisement. In Finland, the vast majority of all roles are filled in other ways than sourcing candidates through job announcements. In Finland there is also a legislation that says that recruitment firms cannot keep applicants data for no more than six months in their data bank, but who checks this?
Moreover, referring to the New York-based executive search firm that approached me, I have gathered many experiences in dealing with professionals from around the world, including New York. Many of those that I have dealt with from New York seem to use an elbow tactic, so if you ever deal with them in business, make sure that THEY first deliver their part of the possible deal, before doing anything for them.
Further on, in 2015, I was contacted by a NY based recruitment industry startup on LinkedIn. They basically had an expectation of me to a) make PR for them for free b) find a way of transferring my LinkedIn data (the professional details of 30.000 individuals) to their database, sending me a non disclosure contract trying to offer me WARRANTS as a payment. I was smart enough to consult an international lawyer at that stage. Shortly after having installed their software on my computer, it broke down. I still have no idea why, but I suspect it happened due to their software. I never found out, just brought my broken laptop to recycling and bought a new one. I also blocked these people from my personal online networks. Whether they installed a virus/malware through their software on my computer is still unclear to me.
Be really careful about what you do online, and who you trust. It is not paranoia to use common sense in business. I have personally learned some very valuable lessons through my online business activities.
Anne-Maria Yritys 2017. All rights reserved.

Sustainable Societies Developed by Ethical & Responsible Individuals

It takes less time to do things right than to explain why you did it wrong. (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)

As citizens of planet Earth, those of us who have been fortunate enough to have access to education and good living standards have to take responsibility and progressive actions in order to improve living conditions for less fortunate individuals.

There are certainly many ways of contributing to sustainable global development, starting with using the knowledge that we have in responsible ways through integrating ethics and sustainability into our societies, into our business practices, and into political activities. In fact, into all activities, be it political or non-political.

According to forecasts by the UN, two-thirds of all world population will live in water scarcity in 2025. If and when this occurs, it is not difficult to understand that this will affect every single citizen of the world either directly or indirectly. Actions need to be taken NOW.


Currently about 57 million children worldwide have no access to primary schooling. The reasons behind this vary, starting from the fact that there is a shortage of about one million teachers in the regions affected (the situation is worst in Sub-Saharan Africa, but also many other geographical regions worldwide suffer from shortages in the very basic human needs, and human rights). Those who have the privilege of education ought to realize how important it is for all children worldwide to have access to primary AND secondary education, and support the development of regions where education is a luxury that currently only wealthy families can afford for their children.

Primary and secondary education is a cost that poor families cannot afford. Instead, poor parents are obliged to send their children to work rather than giving their children the opportunity to work themselves out of poverty through the benefits that education could offer them.

Around 168 million children worldwide work every day instead of going to school. Girls are obliged to drop out of school more often than boys, due to cultural traditions supporting the old beliefs that a girl is a burden for a family rather than a gift like a male child. Nevertheless, both boys and girls are being exploited and utilized as workforce, many of them working long hours in hazardous working environments or forced into becoming child soldiers (in certain areas).

The majority of child labor occurs in Asia and the Pacific, and Sub-Saharan Africa. The reasons for this vary – often due to the fact that poor parents prefer sending their children to work because they need the money to support their families, or, parents prefer sending their children to work because the job is too poorly paid – thus, it “makes more sense” to send the child to the poorly paid, often hazardous job (slavery?). Agriculture is by far the largest sector employing children. Child labor is a violation against human rights, and against the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child.

Why, in a world with so many laws, conventions, declarations, standards, policies, and transparent business processes, do we still have to face child labor and lack of education?

Poor people, including children of poor families, without any external support or support from their state´s governments, are weak to defend themselves taking into consideration the fact that they lack the skills and knowledge to defend themselves and their human rights. Our world has 750 million illiterates alone. Having no reading or writing skills makes it so much more difficult for an individual to improve his/her living standards, unless given the opportunity to learn these basic human skills for thriving and having access to a human life.

Developing sustainable societies and economies brings along many benefits for mankind and helps us leave a legacy for our children and for generations to come, rather than destroying our planet through unethical business practices, ignorance and intolerance.

What are the benefits of creating, and developing ethical and sustainable business/societal practices? A few suggestions to start with:

SAVE OUR PLANET AND ITS INHABITANTS. Sad but true: Our world is running out of water. Instead of panicking, take action NOW and do what you can to improve/prevent the situation. It is not hard to figure out what an impact water shortage will have upon all mankind. If one region runs out of water, it most definitely will have a huge impact on all other regions worldwide as well, leading to significant problems around the world.

IMPROVE YOUR BUSINESS PROCESSES AND MAKE THEM TRANSPARENT (UNLESS THEY ALREADY ARE). Your business activities and consumption have direct and indirect impacts on just about everything, including child labor. It is never too late to make a difference.

SUPPORT ORGANIZATIONS & GOVERNMENTS TO TRANSFORM AND TO GIVE ALL CHILDREN ACCESS TO BOTH PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION. Education improves people´s lives and helps them to work themselves out of poverty & to develop their societies. It is a long-term investment serving us all.

EMPOWER WOMEN WORLDWIDE. Women are suffering in many countries (in fact, in most countries worldwide), and the suffering of women increases the suffering of children as well. The best way to help children is to help their mother´s first.


The Importance of Developing an Effective Ethics Program (The ACFE):

Ethical behavior is doing the right thing when no one else is watching – even when doing the wrong thing is legal (Aldo Leopold)

A leadership strategy without ethical clarity produces moral and economic bankruptcy (Bill Donahue)

Our Planet does not need more successful people. Our planet craves for more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of all kind. (The Dalai Lama)

Ethics is the aesthetics of the soul. (Pierre Reverdy)

Thank you for reading, reflecting, commenting, for taking action to improve living conditions for all human beings.


Integrity, The No. 1 Leadership Quality

“I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live up to what light I have.”(Abraham Lincoln)

Leadership as one of the most widely discussed and debated topics is also one of the most demanding sports activities for any individual, regarding leadership as a sports activity. A leader has to be fit both mentally and physically, having the capability of combining both spurts and long-distance activities into leadership practices.

Expectations upon leaders are manifold. In today´s corporate world, leaders are often evaluated through corporate surveys and employee feedback questionnaires/ discussions, also called 360 degree feedback reviews. Politicians receive feedback through media and from voters. At least in democratic states where freedom of speech exists, where all citizens have equal possibilities, and equal human rights.

The importance of leadership is emphasized through the amount of discussion around, and research upon the topic, well-known journals and other media regularly publishing articles upon, and lists about, desired and important leadership qualities. Try to find a list of the most highly valued leadership qualities excluding INTEGRITY. Let me know if you can find one. I have not until this day.

A quick Google search with the keywords “integrity synonyms” gives the following top result:




noun: integrity

1. the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles.

“a gentleman of complete integrity”

synonyms: honesty, uprightness, probity, rectitude, honour, honourableness, upstandingness, good character, principle(s), ethics, morals, righteousness, morality, nobility, high-mindedness, right-mindedness, noble-mindedness, virtue, decency, fairness, scrupulousness, sincerity, truthfulness, trustworthiness

“I never doubted his integrity”

antonyms: dishonesty

2. the state of being whole and undivided.

“upholding territorial integrity and national sovereignty”

synonyms: unity, unification, wholeness, coherence, cohesion, undividedness, togetherness, solidarity, coalition

“internal racial unrest threatened the integrity of the federation”

antonyms: division
  • the condition of being unified or sound in construction.

“the structural integrity of the novel”

synonyms: soundness, robustness, strength, sturdiness, solidity, solidness, durability, stability, stoutness, toughness

“the structural integrity of the aircraft”

  • internal consistency or lack of corruption in electronic data.

“integrity checking”

WHY is integrity such an important leadership quality?

Top reasons for this:

  • Integrity is morally and ethically correct behavior
  • Integrity is human
  • Integrity is democratic
  • Integrity is highly valued by all human and democratic individuals
  • Integrity is authentic, truthful and honest
  • Integrity is not just talking the talk, but also walking the walk
  • Integrity is a part of any individual´s moral compass, and a tool for making not only things right, but also making the right things
  • Integrity is an essential part of conscious, ethical leadership, preventing immoral actions such as corruption, and enhancing transparency
  • Leaders with integrity are more concerned with the common goal than their personal ambition

Suggested further reading:

EY – Growing Beyond: a place for integrity. 12th Global Fraud Survey.

George, B. 2007. True North. Discover your Authentic Leadership.

Transparency International. The Global Coalition Against Corruption. Publications.

“Just as a compass points toward a magnetic field, your True North pulls you toward the purpose of your leadership. When you follow your internal compass, your leadership will be authentic, and people will naturally want to associate with you. Although others may guide or influence you, your truth is derived from your life story and only you can determine what it should be.”

(True North, From the Introduction). 

“If it is not right do not do it; if it is not true do not say it.” (Marcus Aurelius, Meditations)

 “Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.” (Martin Luther King Jr.)

 “In countries where innocent people are dying, leaders are following blood rather than brains.” (Nelson Mandela)

 “A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.” (Nelson Mandela)
An individual who practices what he/she preaches is predictable, removing emotions of threat, developing trust. showing others consistency (unknown).

 “A rotten apple spoils the barrel. Plant your seeds well.” 

Purposeful Ambition and Living Your True Values

"Businessman Cheering Achievement".
“Businessman Cheering Achievement”.

What do you value in life? We all have values in our lives. Even organizations have values today, the most successful of which place the values at the very core of the organization, creating an organizational culture with the purpose of committing its employees to these values. This is a reason why smart companies include values in their long-term business strategy, attracting employees who they trust can live up to these values, and hopefully, even go beyond them. Therefore, when job-hunting and looking for long-term employment, or even if running your own business, make sure that you know what your values are. 

Why are values so important in the determination of your success in life, and at work? Because, if you understand your values, and you live against them, your outcome will not be successful. I know this from experience. A coach once said to me that I should not discuss values in my application, or express what I believe in and value. Why? To me that was not the best coaching experience. Someone asking me not to act according to my values, or to hide them, is simultaneously asking me to refrain from being my true self. During my MBA program one of our core courses included researching corporate values, in a real organization. This was done as teamwork through appreciative inquiry, a qualitative research method where a number of employees of the organization in question were interviewed. If not earlier, this particular research made me reflect upon my personal values both in business and private.  

It is no secret that values become increasingly important, and individuals want to work with purpose and meaning. 

I was actually inspired to write this article by author and speaker Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, whose work has influenced my life in a positive way. In his movie The Shift, the emphasis is put upon spiritual growth and moving from a place of ambition to purposeful ambition, and ambition with meaning. Dr. Dyer is speaking about peak experiences in life, sudden changes that have the characteristics of being vivid, surprising, benevolent, and enduring. At the very center of the lessons he is sharing with us through The Shift is the fact that we need to let go of the ego´s need to be right, surrender, trust in the natural flow of life, listening to our higher consciousness. Trusting the guidance of something larger than merely external circumstances, we connect to the place of Dharma in ourselves, and cease acting with force.

Further on, according to Dr. Dyer, enthusiasm and passion are signs for us living up to our true values. As he states, we live in a world where all things are possible, when we have faith. To cite Lao Tzu, according to whom virtues to live by are respect for all of life, sincerity/honesty, gentleness/kindness, and support/offering service to others. In general, we all want to lead a fulfilling life, and make a difference (in other people´s lives).

“And still, after all this time, the Sun has never said to the Earth, You owe me. 

Look what happens with a love like that. It lights up the whole world”. 

(Hāfez, Spiritual Persian Poet and Mystic, 1325 –1389) 

How Can You Be Truly Convincing?

“By 2029, computers will have emotional intelligence and be convincing as people”. (Ray Kurzweil, 12.11.2014)

Do you believe in a future where computers have emotional intelligence? Can emotional intelligence be integrated into computers, when not even all human beings are capable of maximizing their potential in terms of emotional intelligence? 

If you have ever worked in sales, you know how important it is to not only sound, but to actually BE, convincing. In fact, this applies to others than just salespeople, or, put in a wider perspective, we all kind of work in sales, at all times, and in all situations in life. 

However, being convincing is not a synonym to being truthful. Although sales, as any other performance, should always include being truthful, there are always people who do not care so much about the truth, or who prefer creating their own truth. We find examples of these across society, of people who convince themselves first, and are color-blind to truth. I have once before quoted Anaïs Nin in this perspective: “We do not see the world as it is. We see it as we are”. 

Throughout centuries, truth has been discussed by philosophers, with a number of frameworks and theories built around a single word with so much meaning. Without going deeper into the different philosophical theories about truth, I just want to pinpoint that truth can be personal, and what is true to another individual, is not necessarily true to you. Some people are very convincing without actually telling the truth (a common truth that applies to the majority of people). There are many sad stories about individuals living their personal truths with a lack of morals, and humanity. Without having to explain further, I am pretty sure that you can think of a number of these. 

What does it take to be convincing? It is quite simple: 

Being convincing requires having confidence and trust in yourself. 

You also need to be convinced about the matter/product/situation. Selling Snow from the Sahara requires your personal conviction about the existence of snow in the Sahara. It is impossible to sell something that actually does not exist – that would equal to fooling your clients. 

In solution-based, client-oriented selling you can of course, in cooperation with your customer, define their needs, and based on those needs, create a tailored solution for them. That is problem-solving with and for the client. But you cannot promise a client that you can provide them with snow from the Sahara when you both know that there is no snow in the Sahara. And even if your customer does not know this, YOU know. 

Conviction includes taking moral responsibility in the first place. It also requires technical knowledge about what it is you are offering. All too often it is a fact that clients are offered various kinds of solutions by people who do not even know their products well enough. This includes not only a risk for the customer, who pays for the service/product, but also risks for the service/product provider: low quality leads to unsatisfied customers, and is a real slap in the face in regards to your brand’s image and reputation. 

Want to act morally and truthfully correct? Integrate the following into your (work) life: 

– Do not get involved into anything that is against your personal values/morals/knowledge/beliefs.

– Always be truthful to your clients/people around you.

– Know your product/service before actually offering it to your clients. If there is something you do not know, make sure to inform yourself so that you do not let your clients down.

– Take responsibility. True professionals and experts have not only a broad knowledge in their field, but are also continuously developing themselves, and seek to transform their knowledge into wisdom. 

– Live as you teach. There is no point in saying something, but acting in the opposite way. 

“You cannot convince anyone of anything. You can only give them the right information in order for them to convince themselves”. (Eben Pagan. Quote 12.11.2014). 



How Can You Become a Master Alchemist and Transmute Everything You Touch into Gold?

“Midas (Μίδας), a King of great fortune in the Greek Mythology, had everything a King could ever wish for. His life was surrounded by luxury in a great castle, and filled with abundance. Midas, spelled by gold, spent all his days counting his gold coins. He also enjoyed covering his body with gold objects, desiring to bathe in them, and obsessed with money.” 

One day, Dionysus, the god of wine, passed through the Kingdom of Midas. One of his companions, a satyr named Silenus, got delayed along the path. Silenus got tired, deciding to have some rest in the famous rose gardens surrounding King Midas ́ palace. Napping there, he was found by the King, who invited him to spend a few days at his palace. The days went by, and finally Midas brought Silenus back to Dionysus. The god of celebration, thankful to Midas for his kindness, promised Midas to satisfy any of his wishes. Midas, after a while of reflection, responded: “I hope that everything I touch becomes gold”. Dionysus warned the King, stating that he should think well about what he wished for, but Midas was certain. Obeying the King ́s wishes, Dionysus had no choice but to promise Midas that from that day on, everything he touched would turn into gold.

The following day Midas woke up eager to see if his wish would come true, extending his arm, and touching a small table immediately turning into gold. Jumping with happiness, Midas continued by touching everything around him, turning everything he touched into gold. At the breakfast table, he took a rose in his hands to smell its delicate fragrance. As you already can guess by now, the rose turned into gold, leaving Midas feeling disappointed. The same happened with his bread, and water, which made Midas feel fearful. With tears in his eyes, he hugged his daughter who had just entered the room, and she turned into a golden statue. In despair, Midas raised his arms, praying to Dionysus to remove the curse. Dionysus felt sorry for Midas, and told him to go to the river Pactolus to wash his hands. Listening to Dionysus advice this time, Midas did what he was told. After washing his hands in the river, everything went back to normal. Filled with joy, Midas hugged his beloved daughter, and decided to share his great fortune with his people. From that day on, Midas turned into a better person, generous and grateful for all goods of his life. With his help, the people of his Kingdom led a prosperous life”. ( Quoted 14.10.2014).


Lessons of the story? Plenty:

– Be careful what you wish for – it may come true. 

– Learn to appreciate the differences around you, including things that may feel small, but are important in the cycle of life. 

– Listen to people, and people ́s advice (your personal advisers/trusted person/consultant, who or whatever that may be in your life/career). 

– Lead with your heart, and have respect for the people around you. 

– Take responsibility for your actions. 

– Being greedy can be destructive for the environment. 

– Being self-centered can be destructive for relationships.

– When accumulating wealth, do it for a good reason. 

– When accumulating wealth, be prepared and ready to share, help, and use your wealth for increasing prosperity for everyone, thus improving other people’s lives as well.

– Money is not the key to happiness. 

– Everyone makes mistakes. Mistakes are usually keys to (personal) development. Just make sure that you do not make mistakes that others have to pay for, or mistakes that have a disastrous effect on e.g. the environment. 

And, finally: You cannot eat gold!


Influencing Positive Change In The World Through Global Education

A few weeks ago the UN Association of Finland organized a school visitation education in Turku, the purpose of which is to educate volunteers willing to visit schools in order to share information about the UN, its principles, and its goals as a non-governmental organization.

In Finland, UN school visitors can be requested through the UNA of Finland:

School visits are open and available to all kinds of educational institutions and tailored according to the age and interest of the pupils/students. The visit can include general facts about the UN and its activities, or be focused around a specific topic, e.g. the UN Millennium Development Goals 2000.

Founded in 1945 after the Second World War by 51 states to protect the world from new wars, the UN (United Nations) is the world´s most important co-operational organization. Over the course of the years the UN has of course changed and developed, trying to adjust its operations according to the most important needs and most urgent matters of its member states. In 2013, the UN had 193 member states.

The main goals of the UN are:

– To maintain international peace and security through peaceful means in solving disputes and conflicts

– To develop friendly relations between nations (autonomy and equal rights)

– Generate and accomplish co-operation to solve economical, social, cultural and humanitarian problems

– To advance human rights and their universality

– To serve as a co-operational centre for all nations

According to the principles of the UN, all member nations are plenipotentiary and equal, must fulfill the obligations of the UN Charter, resolve all international conflicts with peaceful means, and help the UN in all actions taken by the UN according to its Charter.

The main bodies of the UN are:

– The General Assembly

– The Security Council

– ECOSOC (the Economic and Social Council)

– The Secretariat

– The International Court of Justice

– The Trusteeship Council

(Sources: Leisma, 2009; printed material produced by the UN Association of Finland).

The previously mentioned UN Millennium Development Goals 2000 are:

1. Eradication of extreme hunger and poverty

2. Achievement of Universal Primary Education

3. Promotion of Gender Equality and Empowering Women

4. Reduction of Child Mortality

5. Improvement of Maternal Health

6. Combating HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other Diseases

7. Ensuring Environmental Sustainability

8. Global Partnership for Development

(Source: UNA printed material, UN Millennium Development Goals website, quoted 16.4.2014).

Wide-ranged and large goals, but perfectly achievable with commitment from all UN member nations.

Are we close to achieving these goals, or have we already achieved some of them?

I will discuss each of these goals separately in my upcoming posts, with facts and personal thoughts.


Child Labor, Corruption, and (Ethical) Consumption – How Can You Make a Difference?

Since repetition is the mother of learning, the father of action, and so the architect of accomplishment like Zig Ziglar once wisely quoted, let me repeat some of the cruel facts about the state of ethics and moral on planet Earth: 


-The total global number of child labor has decreased in the past decade, but still, an estimation of 168 million children worldwide are forced to work, more than half of whom are involved in hazardous work. 

– The geographical regions where child labor is at its highest: 

  • APAC (Asia and the Pacific) with almost 78 million 
  • Sub-Saharan Africa with 59 million
  • Latin America and the Caribbean with 13 million
  • Middle East and North Africa with around 9 million

The major part of these children work within agriculture (almost 100 million), followed by services (54 million) and industry (12 million). (ILO-IPEC. Making progress against child labor. Global estimates and trends 2000-2012. 2013. Quoted 30.6.2014). 

Read the detailed definitions of child labor in ILO Conventions:

Children participating in work not affecting their health, personal development, or interfering with their education is different, but being trapped in other kinds of activities, including the cruelest forms such as slavery in armed conflicts, forced labor, or commercial sexual exploitation, drug trafficking, and organized begging, are ruthless violations of children´s freedom and human rights. (UN. Child Labor. Quoted 30.6.2014).


Corruption, literally “utterly broken”, was already used by Aristotle and Cicero, adding the terms bribe and abandonment of good habits. In political terminology, corruption is the illegitimate use of public power to benefit a private interest. Corruption is also an action to secretly provide goods or services to someone in order to influence certain actions benefiting the corrupt, a third-party, or both. The moral dimension of corruption can either refer to a mentality problem, or to external circumstances such as poverty, inadequate remuneration, inappropriate work conditions, weak or very complex procedures demoralizing people thus letting them look for alternative solutions. (Wikipedia. Quoted 30.6.2014). 

Worldwide, there are a number of organizations and national institutions dealing with, and providing information about, corruption, including OECD with its slogan “Better Policies for Better Lives” (OECD. Bribery in International Business. Quoted 30.6.2014), and UNCAC (The United Nations Convention against Corruption), a multilateral convention negotiated by members of the UN. (UNODC. United Nations Convention against Corruption. Quoted 30.6.2014).

Read the complete report of the UN Convention against Corruption:

Transparency International, a global movement working to end corruption worldwide, publishes a Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) each year, ranking countries and territories based on their level of corruption in the public sector. To see the current results, and to test your knowledge, please visit Transparency International: (Transparency International. Quoted 30.6.2014). 

These are only two major global problems, among many others.

The question is, how can YOU, and your organization, make a difference?

As a private household consumer, it is not always easy to know all the work included in a certain product, unless you have produced it yourself of course. This is why it is so important that organizations operate with a high level of transparency and inform their customers about their level of standards in all of the organization´s business practices. Most progressive organizations, these days, are concerned with how they produce, or at least organizations and corporations should be socially responsible, and so make it easier for consumers to know what they are buying. 

As a consumer it is possible to invest some time in finding out more about the product, its origins, and the kind of work included in the process. If you, as a consumer, are unsure about whether a company is bringing “ethically clean” products to the market, you can always choose to ask the company, and demand supplementary information about a specific product. If it is not available, or given to you, another possibility is to change your consumer behavior and choose products that you know are ethically produced. 

Ethical consumption, first popularized by the UK magazine the Ethical Consumer, favors ethical products, empowering consumers to make ethically informed consumption choices and providing reliable information on corporate behavior. These criteria-based ethical and environmental ratings have become commonplace both in providing consumer information and in B2B, CSR and sustainability ratings. (Wikipedia. Quoted 30.6.2014). 

It may all sound somewhat complex to start with, but don´t we all want to spend our money wisely and ethically?

The next time you go shopping, start by asking yourself, why a certain product is so cheap? The price is not always an indicator of unethical production, but it could be.


UN Millennium Development Goal 8: Global Partnership for Development

What does global partnership signify to you and to your country?

In terms of improving conditions in less developed countries, the UN has set a goal and defines global partnership through following:

– Existence and development of non-discriminatory trading and financial systems with openness, clear rules and predictability

– Focusing on improving conditions in least developed countries while taking into consideration their special needs (also landlocked and small island state developing States)

– Provide access to affordable essential drugs in co-operation with pharmaceutical companies

– Availability to new technologies (information and communications) in co-op with the private sector

(UN MDG´s. Quoted 19.5.2014).

In 2011, the official amount of development aid was 0,31 % of total GDP in developed countries. The percentage is decreasing, despite of the 0,7 % target set by the UN. Debt burden ratios in developing countries, however, have decreased, and products from developing countries now more easily find their way to the Western markets. The usage of mobile phones in developing countries is rapidly increasing, e.g. beneficial in the usage as payment methods with lacking, or danger of, banking systems in certain regions. (UNA of Finland. Printed Material. 2014; Business Insider. Quoted 19.5.2014).

Exactly how useful is it for a state to have increased access to mobile payments if, at the same time, there is lack of sufficient infrastructure to provide all its citizens with nutritious food? Food for thought, certainly. At least to me it seems somewhat contradictory.

In terms of natural resources, and alternative sources of energy, Africa as a continent alone has the potential to provide all of the world´s energy – through solar power. Currently, however, the continent produces only under one per cent of total world energy. (African Union. Quoted 19.5.2014; The Alternative Energy eMagazine. “Africa, the Untapped Potential for Clean Energy”. Quoted 19.5.2014).

Us humans are deeply curious by nature, through evolution, which made us the ultimate “learning machines”. As proof  for this we only need to look back into the history of humanity, our ancestors.

“Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps, down new roads, armed with nothing but their own vision”.

(Ayn Rand)

As an example of human curiosity, courage and learning through mistakes, serves the Spanish explorer Christopher Columbus, who in the 15th century accidentally discovered America in his urge to find a seaway to India. His voyages of discovery were a countdown to the European conquest of America, and he is said to be the father of imperialism, a term that today mostly awakens negative thoughts about the nature of humanity.

A couple of centuries later, in the 18th to be exact, the Scottish philosopher and economist Adam Smith, presented his ideas in the Wealth of Nations, a classical political economic theory, which still today serves as a foundation for economy. According to Adam Smith´s idea, a state has to secure people´s assets, solve disputes and make sure that rules/laws are being obeyed. In other words: the state needs to take care of things an individual is incapable of alone, or what the individual does without efficiency. In his description of market economy Smith argued that the willingness of an entrepreneur to make progress in his/her private privileges leads to economic advantages and benefits for the whole society. Furthermore, the foundation of the theory is based upon basic economic freedoms for everyone: freedom to choose a line of business, freedom to make decisions, free competition and freedom of trade. (Adam Smith Institute. Quoted 19.5.2014

Further on, international trade, including the terms absolute and comparative advantage, is said to be essential in sustaining friendly relations between different states. The term comparative advantage refers to the ability of producing a specific good or service at a lower cost over another leading to gains in trading between two countries, as long as relative efficiency remains different. In spoken language this means that a country has comparative advantage of another as long as it is able to produce a certain product/service with less total cost than another (cheapest possible production).

But how well does the theory take quality into consideration? Or labor law? There is no discussion at all about these important issues in the theory of comparative advantage. Luckily, many companies in developed countries have today developed business processes which take these important facts into consideration at all stages. Still, many companies necessarily do not.

According to ILO, the International Labor Organization, the amount of child labor worldwide is still as high as 168 million children worldwide. Imagine that! Who is employing all those children? Can we sleep tight at night without certainty about the fact that products/services we consume may actually involve the brutal usage of child labor?

Once again: everyone under the age of 18 is a child, and according to the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, every child has the right to be a child, to attend primary school, and no child should have to work.

Why not turn quality and transparency throughout all business procedures into competitive advantages in any business? With a world-changing rapidly only companies with sustainable business practices are those that will survive in the long run. Consumers´ are increasingly aware and critical when choosing goods/products/services to consume, and no one wants to take the responsibility of consuming products/services that have not taken quality or children´s/human rights into consideration.

“The price of greatness is responsibility”.

(Winston Churchill)

Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps, down new roads, armed with nothing but their own vision.


UN Millennium Development Goal 7: Ensuring Environmental Sustainability

“Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children.”

(Ancient Indian Proverb)

The UN target of ensuring environmental sustainability includes:  

– Integration of the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes, as well as reversement of the loss of environmental resources: 

=> Forests continue disappearing at an alarming rate

=> CO2 emissions have increased worldwide by more than 46 % since 1990

=> There has been a reduction of over 98 % in the consumption of ozone-depleting substances in the past three decades

– Reduction of biodiversity loss

=> An increase of 58 % in earth´s protected areas since 1990

=> In 2010, 12,7 % of the world´s land areas were protected, but only 1,6 % of ocean areas

– Halving the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation 

=> Target has been met five years ahead of schedule

=> More than 40 % of people without improved drinking water live in sub-Saharan Africa

=> Still, 2.5 billion people in developing countries have no access to improved sanitation facilities

– Achieving a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers

=> The target has been met, although the number of slum dwellers has grown

(UN MDG´s. Quoted 16.5.2014). 

Despite of continuous improvements in environmental sustainability, we are facing huge challenges that we are all responsible for, and that we need to respond to NOW: 

– According to forecasts, 2/3 of world population will live with water scarcity in 2025, 11 years from now. In 2025 world population will have grown to more than eight billion, meaning that more than five billion people will live with water scarcity. 

– Today, developed countries (20 % of all countries) use 80 % or more of all natural resources.

In Finland alone: if the total world population would consume as much as people in Finland, we would need three Earth´s instead of the ONE AND ONLY that we live in today. Despite of the excess usage of natural resources in Finland, there are other industrialized countries that are even worse in over-consumption. You can check the current situation in your country´s statistics for consumption, or visit WWF´s website for more information upon the topic.