Global Business Ethics (field lab in Cape Town)

Discipline: Semester at Sea Seminars
Instructor: Castaldi
Credits: 3
Day: B
Start: 14:15
End: 15:30
Field Work: Day 1 - Capetown - Saturday, 26 October | South Africa Download Syllabus

This Global Comparative Lens course on business ethics and social responsibility will be taught from a multi-disciplinary, as well as a multi-cultural perspective. Topics to be covered will include ethical theory, globalization, marketing ethics, environmental responsibilities, diversity and discrimination, cross-cultural values and moral rights in the workplace. Through the lens of the countries we visit we will compare and contrast business ethics and social responsibility norms and how they influence local and global business practices. The text, lectures and class discussions will provide a framework for examining the range and diversity of ethical perspectives around the globe.

Field Work

Country: South Africa
Day: 1 - Capetown - Saturday, 26 October

South African wines are gaining an increasing share of the global wine market. We will visit Backsberg Wines Estate and Nelson’s Creek Wine Estate to learn about wine production and associated ethical, environmental and sustainability issues facing the industry. Our first stop is Backsberg Wine Estate, situated along the slopes of the Simonsberg Mountains, midway between Paarl and Stellenbosch. The estate has been producing quality wines for 70 years, over four generations. The philosophy of Backsberg remains that of providing pleasure and enjoyment to a broad range of wine lovers by producing wines not only with structure and finesse, but with a high level of 'drinkability'. Backsberg emphasizes quality in all of their products and has been chosen as one of the Top 100 Wineries of the Year by Wine & Spirits Magazine in New York. Backsberg also has a strong environmental focus. They have a holistic approach to preservation – from the seemingly smaller features such as reducing the weight of glass bottles, to reserving a section of land on the farm for the preservation of the Fynbos biome. Backsberg made history in 2006 when it became the first wine producer in South Africa, and one of only three in the world, to gain Carbon Neutral status by sequestrating its carbon emissions. Backsberg will welcome you and lead you on a farm tractor tour through the vineyards, as well as a walk through the wine cellar. This will be followed by a formal Backsberg wine tasting in the historic Vat Cellar. We will then continue to Nelson’s Creek Wine Estate near country town of Wellington that stands upon one of the first pieces of land to be selected by the French Huguenots for making wine. A deeds office entry dated 1692 records the fact that the new arrivals from the Loire Valley in France immediately recognized the potential of the area and set about making their contribution to the fledgling wine industry. These early pioneers probably had the same dream as the present owner Alan Nelson - to make wines that would proudly carry the family name, wines that would be among the finest coming out of South Africa. After touring the vineyard, cellar and facilities, we will meet with Alan Nelson and his management team to discuss topics such as international marketing, sustainable procedures and social and environmental practices. Academic Objectives 1.  To apply concepts and theories covered in our Comparative Lens course to current ethical, environmental and sustainability issues facing firms in the wine industry. 2.  To gain insights from successful top managers in two different wineries regarding management and marketing practices with particular emphasis to their perspectives on ethical, environmental and sustainability issues.

3.  To produce a final written report that compares and contrasts important academic theories and concepts of business ethics and environmental sustainability with issues and practices facing top managers today in the wine industry.