Titans BITE: Board of Integrity, Transparency, and Ethics - and the INTERCEDE Center for Humanity
As an organization, Titans Universe takes a clear and unequivocal approach to both self-governance and continuous learning about and modeling our values of Integrity, Transparency, and Ethics as well as Education, Refuge, Climate Ecology, Healthcare, Ecological Sustainability, Shelter, Cybersecurity, Diversity, and Inclusion.
Titans BITE: Board of Integrity, Transparency, and Ethics - and the INTERCEDE Center for Humanity
by Ian Browde J.D. | Founding Partner, Titans Universe
on behalf of Titans Universe Founding Tean
As an organization, Titans Universe (TU) takes a clear and unequivocal approach to both self-governance and continuous learning about and modeling our values of Integrity, Transparency, and Ethics, as well as Education, Refuge, Climate Ecology, Healthcare, Ecological Sustainability (including Food and Water Security), Shelter (including housing and homelessness), Cybersecurity, Diversity, and Inclusion.
In the area of self-governance, TU is establishing a Board of Integrity, Transparence and Ethics (BITE) to monitor our operations (discussion on what that means below), report and publicize internally for cures in those areas.
The acronym BITE is used with humor to evoke teeth -as in: our mandates have teeth- i.e., they have the necessary authority or power to make people comply.
In the area of continuous learning about topics that relate to TU’s values, the organization will establish the INTERCEDE Center for Humanity to research, publish articles, videos, podcasts and so on to serve ourselves and others in understanding these complex, important domains.
The acronym INTERCEDE is derived from the word “intercede,” which means to mediate or intervene with a view to reconciling differences.
The Titans Universe INTERCEDE Center for Humanity will have a charter to:
- 1. Intervene internally through the Board of Integrity and Ethics (BITE) where we see that our community is not functioning to promote the values we espouse, and help reconcile actions and behaviors.
- 2. Model our values, support R&D around our values -especially education, healthcare that includes mental health, special needs and elder care-, and climate and ecology sustainability that includes food security, water management and resourcing, and nature conservation, including topsoil, food production, animals, birds, fish, and insects. Thus, our example can intercede through emulation by others.
- 3. Intervene externally by providing refuge for folks where climate affected areas produce forced migration.
- 4. Act on our own biases, prejudices, and governance and behavior lapses, and support and promote workshops, webinars, trainings, articles, books, movies, videos and so on to clarify and deepen understanding about ecological sustainability, education, healthcare, integrity, transparency, diversity, and ethics.
NOTES: (1) The actual charter of INTERCEDE will be fleshed out as TU grows. It will be led by the BITE (see below) and will draw upon resources inside and out of the company. (2) INTERCEDE and BITE are in no way intended to take away from the company’s legal and CSR/ESG teams, see the CAVEATS and Other Important Notes section, below. In fact they are intended to augment those aspects of TU, which aspires to be a breakout role model.
At the highest level, to get the ball rolling, the first task of The INTERCEDE Center for Humanity is to establish BITE to define our values as they relate to planet earth/planet water, the moon and other planets and create an evolving constitution-like charter.
The BITE charter will include commitments covering all the values and a range of ethics related topics, including respect for life and expression, obligations and rights, protections for whistleblowers, feedback and criticism, and other areas of importance.
The BITE will consist of at least three (compensated) members who will be appointed by the company’s founding partners.
The BITE will change its membership every 3 years, with previous members able to rejoin the Board after a year’s hiatus.
The BITE Charter: Principles and Commitments
- 1. Religion is a private matter. TU’s founding team represents a diverse array of personal beliefs and religions. We respect each other’s observances, and view religion as a private matter, having no place in the company’s professional setting.
- 2. Ideological Independence. TU’s founding team holds a broad range of political affiliations. Sometimes, ideologies concern controversial issues like geopolitical developments or political partisanship. At TU, we agree to look at balanced, unbiased, and fair representation of issues. To that end, we will follow the purposes and principles of the United Nations, and other similar global and ethically uncompromised organizations like Ethical Markets, and their councils, agencies and organizations.
- 3. Science informs our business. We let science, not religion, opinion, or political ideology, inform us on topics, products, services, marketing, partnering, and sales that will be required as TU progresses. A spectrum of differing scientific analysis will always be looked at and researched with equal diligence to ensure that we are state of the art and not blinded by bias and prejudice. There will be many instances where decisions are made, and those responsible will be accountable whether they and their actions are popular or not.
- 4. Cultural Awareness. TU’s founding team is uniquely multicultural, multiracial, and multinational, representing people from around the globe. We celebrate our founders’ diversity, and respect all our differences. TU’s culture is based on a comfortable, welcoming, and respectful environment for all people and all appropriate social behaviors, norms, and values.
- 5, Diversity and Inclusivity. At TU, we commit to a diverse workforce where all people are treated equally, fairly and respectfully. We affirm our commitment to equal treatment pertaining to hiring, salaries and benefits, regardless of gender identity, racial identity, or social (marital) status. We also acknowledge neurodiversity as reality and see it as contributing to our greatness. These principles are paramount to TU’s commitment to diversity and inclusivity.
- 6. Bias is inevitable. At TU, we work to identify our blind spots and to eliminate bias and prejudice as much as possible.
- 7. Exceptional is our standard. At TU, we believe that everyone is exceptional and that it, not average, is normal. Therefore, we expect our people to hold themselves to exceptional standards as the floor of their conduct – their actions, thoughts, and words.
- 8. Model the High Road. At TU, we believe that actions speak louder than words. Thus, instead of merely saying we commit to ethical, fair, positive, generous, compassionate, and kind conduct we establish modeling that behavior as a grounding principle.
- 9. Empathy in all its variations. At TU, we take very seriously the notion that while sympathy is good i.e., being moved by another’s thoughts, feelings and experience, empathy, walking in another’s shoes so to speak, cognitively, emotionally and in practice i.e. taking action to support others, is fundamental.
- 10. Stewardship and service. At TU, we recognize that, in the words of Chief Seattle (circa December 1854), “The earth, does not belong to man, man belongs to the earth.” We adapt this to say that “Earth, the moon, indeed the Universe itself does not belong to humanity, rather we belong to it.” Also, we understand that being of selfless service to others, to nature, and to life -whether we are leaders or participants- is the surest way to ensure the right results from our efforts.
The following TU commitments are based upon our understanding of our principles, our definitions of integrity, transparency and ethics, and a belief in a circular economy as the optimal way for life to not merely endure on this planet and elsewhere in the solar system and beyond, but to thrive.
- 1. Multiple Bottom Lines. BITE will continually guide and nudge TU towards fulfilling a commitment to financial, social, and environmental bottom lines, including circular and doughnut economics with spiritual choice as a fourth (4th) to be explored.
- 2. Monitoring TU Operations and reporting on integrity, transparency and ethics in conduct of leaders and participants.
- 3. Visiting TU financials, advertising, products, services and the promotion of our sponsors brands to ensure that they all exceed to bar for integrity, transparency, and ethics.
- 4. Identifying potential biases and prejudices, known or unknown, using the Occam’s Razor This will include hiring practices, pay levels (gender and other characteristics neutral), giving voice (gender, culture, race, age, beliefs, etc., neutral), and other forms of discrimination.
- 5. Whistleblower protection. In order to ensure that we do not succumb to our own blind spots, we do not only support protecting whistleblowers, but we encourage them while discourage frivolous allegations. To TU, a whistleblower is “someone who reports waste, fraud, abuse, corruption, or dangers to public health and safety to someone who is in the position to rectify the wrongdoing. A whistle-blower typically works inside of the organization where the wrongdoing is taking place; however, being an agency or company “insider” is not essential to serving as a whistleblower. What matters is that the individual discloses information about wrongdoing that otherwise would not be known.”
- 6. Feedback and criticism. Adhering to freedom of speech as a fundamental way of ensuring the best ideas prevail, TU commits to encouraging feedback which we understand as information about reactions to our products and services, about a person’s performance, regardless of their title and level in the company, and to construe that information as a basis for future improvement. TU considers constructive criticism, based on careful review and delivered kindly, as positive. We discourage finding fault with no guidance as to alternatives or options.
- 7. BITE members will commit to represent global society, thus fully reflecting the entire potential TU customer base. They will serve no longer than 3 years before taking at least a one (1) year hiatus and, providing documented evidence of no conflicts of interest during that time, will then become eligible again.
- 8. The chair of BITE will be rotated among members every 12 months.
- 9. Conflicts of interest, indeed even the perception thereof, will demand that members of the BITE recuse themselves from any association with, let alone deliberation of, topics and issues related to them in any way, shape or form.
- 10. Negotiating and Resolving conflicts using “principled negotiation” or other similar approaches. The key is to maintain respect and dignity while arriving at resolution so work and life can proceed.
 Circular Economics – per Wikipedia, a circular economy (or CE) is a model of production and consumption that involves sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials and products for as long as possible. CE aims to tackle global challenges such as climate change, biodiversity loss, waste and pollution by emphasizing the three design principles required for the transformation to a circular economy: designing out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use, and regenerating natural systems. Doughnut Economics – created by Kate Raworth, is Humanity’s 21st century challenge is to meet the needs of all within the means of the planet. In other words, to ensure that no one falls short on life’s essentials (from food and housing to healthcare and political voice), while ensuring that collectively we do not overshoot our pressure on Earth’s life-supporting systems, on which we fundamentally depend – such as a stable climate, fertile soils, and a protective ozone layer.
 Occam’s Razor is summed up as “the simplest explanation is usually the correct one.” It has been advocated by a wide range of luminaries from Isaac Newton, Max Planck and Bertrand Russell to Ludwig Wittgenstein, Albert Einstein and Thomas Aquinas.
 Whistleblower definition taken from National Whistleblower Center (NWC) founded in 1988.
 Principled Negotiation is tries to find acceptable solutions for the parties in conflict by determining which needs are fixed and which are flexible. William Ury, Roger Fisher and Bruce Patton of the Harvard Negotiation Project developed Getting to Yes, a useful handbook to support this way of negotiating and resolving conflict.
Definitions of Integrity, Transparency, and Ethics
Integrity – means being whole and derives from the Latin integritas. It is the quality of honesty and having strong moral principles. It evokes moral courage and demonstrates an unequivocal lack of corruption and corruptibility. A person with integrity does the right thing even when there is no possibility of being seen or detected.
Transparency – means being open to public scrutiny. It is the quality of being easy to detect as in motives, goals, objectives, and actions. It pertains to behavior in transactions, interactions and relationships. It calls on openness in governance and management. It derives from the Latin transparentia or shining through. For example, publishing the salaries of everyone in the company could prevent unfair payment practices.
Ethics – means a set of moral principles that govern people’s conduct i.e., words, behavior and actions. It can include and yet is much broader than legality. It derives from the Greek word ethos which means character. It denotes conduct that reflects a way of relating to others, to animals and indeed all of nature with care, kindness, humility, compassion, fairness, truthfulness and justice while demonstrating responsibility and accountability. It is often associated with “doing no harm,” and yet it is broader than that too. Putting aside the fact that some people may have perverse or corrupted desires about how they would like to be treated, the Golden Rule of “treat others as you would like to be treated,” is a useful guide to ethics. It appears in Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Sikhism, and Zoroastrianism.
 Sources: Seven Pillars Institute and International Encyclopedia of Ethics.
Caveats and other important notes
Since we exist in a world where legal and ethical are not always aligned, and businesspeople are sometimes cutthroat, malicious and malign, we must be clear that TU will have its own legal department and/or will hire outside counsel who will steer the company to protect its reputation, brand and good name.
While these legal personnel will be guided by the law, which it is worth mentioning also differs from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, they will be encouraged to confer with BITE too. That way, we will know that at least they will consider the ethical standards to which the company aspires.
Often in business, words are exchanged in the heat of the moment, which can appear to abridge the principles of the company. In cases like those, all TU people will be encouraged to enroll legal counsel and/or BITE to provide help in mediating the issue.
Workers’ Rights – when it comes to these, TU will use the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission principles to guide its actions.
These basically state that employees have the right to:
- – Not be harassed or discriminated against (treated less favorably) because of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, or gender identity), national origin, disability, age (40 or older) or genetic information (including family medical history).
- – Receive equal pay for equal work.
- – Receive reasonable accommodations (changes to the way things are normally done at work) that are needed because of their medical condition or religious beliefs , if required by law.
- – Expect that any medical information or genetic information that they share with their employer will be kept confidential.
- – Report discrimination, participate in a discrimination investigation or lawsuit, or oppose discrimination (for example, threaten to file a discrimination complaint), without being retaliated against (punished) for doing so.
Unionizing and Other Issues that might arise will be dealt with by engaging in dialogue with the protagonists using BITE to ensure that the company’s principles are considered at least and fulfilled as far as possible.
TU Family Care i.e., caring for an employee’s family if that person should pass, will be covered by TU human resources policies and will be based on the best ideas out there.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), often spoken of nowadays as ESG (Environment, Social and Governance) initiatives are often broken down into four categories: environmental, philanthropic, ethical, and economic responsibility. Environmental initiatives focus on preservation of natural resources, while philanthropic initiatives focus on donating to worthy causes that may not relate to a business. Ethical responsibility ensures fair and honest business operations, while economic responsibility promotes the fiscal support of the goals above.
BITE will work hand in glove with TU CSR/ESG departments and personnel to ensure that the company does what it aspires to do.
- – Ethical Markets
- – Climate Change Resources
- – The Science of Climate Change Explained: Facts, Evidence and Proof by Julia Rosen, PhD.
- – The Global Conveyor Belt, National Geographic.
- – The Universe in a Single Atom, the Dalai Lama.
- – AGU, advancing earth and space science.
- – Wired magazine
- – AARP website and magazine
- – Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
- – CAIS (Center for AI Safety)
Hazel Henderson, Thomas Piketty, Kate Raworth, Vaclav Smil, Teilhard de Chardin, Pema Chodron, Larry Brilliant, Ram Dass, Jeff Hawkins, Yuval Noah Harari, Michio Kaku, Malcolm Gladwell, Francisco Varela, Bertrand Russell, J. Krishnamurthi, Lao Tsu (Laozi), Confucius, Sally Haslanger, Margaret Sanger, Muhammad Yunus