McCormick Spices Up Business Ethics


Grant it I might be a little bias with my undying love for McCormick & Co. Inc because my dad has been working for them for over 20 years, but that does not change the fact that their business ethics are impeccable. McCormick is a prime counter example for many of the cases we’ve been looking at including Nike and Apple.

Here are a couple of stats and awards that exemplify their leading practices in business ethics:

  • Member of BBB for over 60 years
  • In BBB’s Hall of Fame
  • Won the annual Torch Award for large businesses in 2002
  • Ranked by Fortune in 2010 as one of the 100 best places to work in the US
  • Currently holds an A+ ranking with the BBB
  • 24% of the workforce has worked for McCormick for over 20 years

Several of these statistics were taken from an article published in Maryland written about McCormick back in 2002. The thing that I think really exemplifies their business practices is that the high standards that they hold for themselves, they also hold for their suppliers.

I was lucky enough to intern with McCormick two summers ago and learned that they have a large number of suppliers located overseas. This would make sense as there are many many spices and herbs that can not be found within the United States. Now, a company such as McCormick that NEEDS to have international operations for their business to stay afloat, you would think might have some ethical dilemmas here or there depending on the country they are in. You thought wrong. McCormick (as I learned from both my time at the company and from my dad) makes sure that any practice that is followed within the United States, is followed abroad as well whether it’s in Europe, Asia, or South America. This could be anything from employee satisfaction, wages, work safety, you name it.

Now my question for all of you is how can a company such as McCormick, who needs to have an international presence in many different locations due to the nature of their products, maintain such high ethical practices when companies like Nike get caught up in scandals all the time? Because all companies are able to do so, it’s just weather or not they choose to.

McCormick is an extremely large company within their market, but compared to other major corporations like Nike or Apple, they’re minuscule. If McCormick wanted to be as large, powerful and wealthy as those companies…all they would need to do is lower their ethical standards so they can make the most profits while overseas. But…they don’t do this and have amazing employee satisfaction, great international presence and above all, still maintain profits from year to year.

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2 responses to “McCormick Spices Up Business Ethics

  1. McCormick seems like a clear example of sound corporate ethics yielding reliable and significant success in business. It would be interesting to take a look at how this ethical approach to business has transferred to its employees and rubbed off on how they approach decisions in their personal lives. Perhaps how it has even influenced the communities they inhabit?

  2. I wonder if one difference, as you point out, is that reliance on international suppliers has been a part of the business since it started.

    Nike and Apple engaged without outsourced manufacturing specifically to lower manufacturing costs and/or to evade unionized labor forces.

    Perhaps that choice subsequently shaped how much “ownership” the different firms have over the full impact of their decisions.

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