Guest Post - More Barn: Neil Young and CSR Leadership

by Paul Klein
Aug 7, 2014 2:15 PM ET
Campaign: 3BL Blogs

Originally published on Forbes

“I once went down to Neil’s ranch and he rowed me out into the middle of the lake—putting my life in his hands once again. He waved at someone invisible and music started to play, in the countryside. I realized Neil had his house wired as the left speaker, and his barn wired as the right speaker. And Elliot Mazer, his engineer, said ‘How is it?’ And Neil shouted back . . . ‘More Barn!’” —Graham Nash, talking about how Neil Young first played him Harvest.

I always loved this story but hadn’t thought about it for years. Last week, however, I kept coming across inspiring examples of CSR leadership that made me think we need “more social.” I also discovered that “more barn” means more than I thought.

For years, many of the world’s big electronics companies, including Apple, have largely neglected the problem of students working in the factories of their suppliers in China. According to The New York Times, “Students complain of being ordered by school administrators to put in very long hours on short notice at jobs with no relevance to their studies; local governments sometimes order schools to provide labor, and the factories pay school administrators a bonus.” On Friday,however,  Hewlett-Packard, one of the world’s largest makers of computers and other electronics, demonstrated industry leadership by imposing new limits on the employment of students and temporary agency workers at factories across China. “Moving forward, all factory work must be voluntary,” and students and temporary workers must be free “to leave work at any time upon reasonable notice without negative repercussions, and they must have access to reliable and reprisal-free grievance mechanisms,” according to the company.

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This post originally appeared on Posted with permission of the author.

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