2002 Minnesota Business Ethics Award Presented

Press Release

For Immediate Release

Bob Shoemake
Director of Programs and Membershp
Phone: (651) 962-4120/4127
Email: rcshoemake@cebcglobal.org

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – An injection molding company, a global designer and manufacturer of rotary motion products and one of Minnesota’s leading health care firms are winners of this year’s Minnesota Business Ethics AwardTM (MBEA). S & W Plastics, LLC, Reell Precision Manufacturing Corporation and HealthPartners were honored Wednesday evening at the MBEA Awards Banquet. All of the award winners have gone beyond a minimum threshold of ethical behavior to excel in their performance.

S & W Plastics, LLC is an ISO 9002 certified, custom plastics injection molding company with 85 employees in facilities located in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. Since 1970, S & W has provided design, consulting, mold construction, plastic part manufacturing, and assembly to its customers in the medical, electronics, computer, and industrial markets. The MBEA judges were impressed with S & W’s embrace of its diverse workforce, its practice of open communications throughout the company, including monthly meetings with the senior leadership team, and its use of independent investigators for any reports of unethical conduct. S & W prints its mission statement in eight languages, each identified with an appropriate flag, and posts the statement throughout the premises.

Reell Precision Manufacturing Corporation, with approximately 300 employees, designs and manufactures intermittent rotary motion products for a variety of commercial applications. Its primary products are electric and mechanical clutches, friction hinges, and slip clutch devices. Commenting on RPM’s ethical practices, the judges described them as being exemplary, noting that this is a company that “walks the talk” of its values and mission statement. For years, RPM has donated ten percent of its net profits to community organizations. Rather than laying off employees during 2001’s manufacturing recession, RPM instituted pay cuts – beginning at the top but not applying to hourly workers whose pay was less than $11.50/hour.

HealthPartners is a consumer-governed family of organizations that finance and deliver medical and dental care. More than 9300 employees staff its various units. In addition to all of the excellent and well-communicated policies and practices which one expects to see in a large corporation, the judges saw in HealthPartners a zeal for corporate integrity. Its Corporate Integrity program is three-dimensional, including personal, professional and organizational integrity. It is vital and interactive and, according to the judges, seems to be the lifeblood of the company. They noted that there are lots of “carrots” at HealthPartners, many opportunities in its rewards and recognition systems for receiving positive recognition for doing the right thing. Additionally, they saw HealthPartners as committed to managing its culture, developing and sustaining an ethics program that makes ethical behavior comprehensive and enterprise-wide, intrinsic to every fiber of the organization’s being.

The Minnesota Business Ethics Award (MBEA) was established in 2000 by the Minnesota Chapters of the Society of Financial Service Professionals (SFSP–MN) and the Center for Ethical Business Cultures (CEBC) to raise the standards for business ethics in Minnesota and to honor those companies that exhibit the highest standards. SFSP–MN has approximately 600 members committed to education and ethics among professionals in the financial services industry. CEBC is a non-profit business association operating in a unique partnership with its business members and the University of St. Thomas College of Business and the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management. The Center focuses on ethical leadership, management and culture, corporate citizenship and the critical employer/employee relationship.

The MBEA recognizes Minnesota businesses that exemplify and promote ethical conduct for the benefit of the workplace, the marketplace, the environment and the community.

A customer, client, employee, vendor or private citizen who is impressed with a company’s demonstration of ethical business conduct may nominate a business for the award. Over 160 nominations were received for this year’s awards.

Companies, whether public or privately held, are judged in one of three categories based on number of employees:

  • Small: Under 100 employees
  • Medium: 100 – 500 employees
  • Large: Over 500 employees

The foundational standards for the MBEA are found in The Minnesota Principles, published by CEBC in 1992. The Principles describe the ethical relationships which businesses are expected to maintain with all of its stakeholders:  its customers, employees, owners & investors, suppliers, communities and competitors.

In light of those stakeholder relationships, the MBEA looks at:

  • What a company says it stands for
  • How it does what it says it stands for, and
  • How well it does what it says it stands for.

Local finalists may advance to a national competition that culminates in three national American Business Ethics Award (ABEA) recipients. The ABEA was inaugurated in 1994 by the Society of Financial Service Professionals.

In addition to the recognition which MBEA winners will receive, completion of the MBEA entry form provides businesses with a process for examining their ethics management goals and processes in the light of best practices.

Originally published on April 25, 2002.

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