Demonstrate ethical values or risk losing public trust

Oct 25 2002 by Brian Amble Print This Article

Speaking at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development's Annual Conference on October 24, David Grayson, Director of Business in the Community, argues that if businesses want to continue to profit in the global market they must stand up and argue their case.

His comments come against a backdrop where successive annual MORI polls have shown a substantial decline in the percentage of the British public believing that the profits of large business help society.

Says Grayson: "Business must articulate the positive impact it makes and demonstrate a much more serious and widespread commitment to responsible business practice. Markets, as well as individuals, need values for long term success."

He points to five core values that have been identified by the Institute of Global Ethics, based on focus groups around the world. They are:

  • Compassion: sharing success with those less fortunate in society through community involvement
  • Honesty: transparency and integrity in all business dealings†
  • Fairness: particularly in the treatment of staff in relation to work-life balance and continuous learning
  • Respect: encouraging diversity and respecting individuals and their contribution irrespective of gender, race, disability, age or sexual orientation
  • Responsibility: recognising the need for sustainable development and taking responsibility for environmental impacts

Grayson adds: "Business is going to have to learn how to operationalise sustainable development and corporate responsibility as an integral part of 'the way we do business around here' and then develop effective metrics for measuring impact and benefits.

"And analysts need to factor these issues into their assessment of whether a company is a good long term bet."