European Business Ethics Forum: sharing successful practices
by Ingrida Andrijauskaite
For 12 years, the European Business Ethics Forum (EBEF) has brought together those global business leaders who are responsible for ethics, compliance or business conduct programmes within their organisations. This year’s ethics forum was held in Paris. EBEF provided great opportunities for the participants from different business industries to present how their work connected with maintaining sustainable business. Furthermore, the companies discussed the main problems that are caused by doing business honestly and ethically.
Does Business comply with Ethics?
Quite often we hear about the necessity of ethics and integrity within business. The professionals of ethics underline that business stakeholders and representatives who want to build a strong business community and a reliable brand should focus more on the best fundamental ethical practices and accountable solutions of their behaviour in the public.
One of the results of EBEF revealed that companies prefer to focus on measures which are visible and documentable, and also on the aim of selling their products or services, rather than onvalues and cultural issues. Ethical behaviour in business can reduce ethical problems within corporations. That’s why, every year, EBEF seeks to emphasize the importance of demonstrating a high level of ethics and compliance.
The main values such as integrity and having a sustainable culture are the most pertinent international standards and the companies which adhere to ethical principles are seeking to effectively improve and grow their business in the consumerist environment.
What is the significance of EBEF for the business community?
The professionals of business ethics state that effective investigation practices help to increase endeavour towards an ethical culture and reduce the risk of reputational harm or criminal sanctions. In this forum, business leaders can share their specific professional experiences, and also demonstrate how investigations of business behaviour could benefit other companies.
With the objective of understanding why EBEF is important for the business community, Philippa Foster Back, a director at the Institute of Business Ethics (IBE) in the UK, states that this forum provides very strong practical solutions to make ethical business more attainable.
Philippa Foster Back has said that EBEF is a practitioners-only event, where those responsible for ethics and compliance within larger organisations, can get together in an informal setting and discuss the challenges and issues they face in their roles. The discussions range from issues around communicating ethics to middle management or engaging leadership, to technical aspects of an ethics programme such as investigations, auditing and measuring to training and engaging ethics ambassadors or incentivising ethical behaviour.
A director of the IBE believes that the most important key to the success of the forum is that it is peers in similar roles sharing their experiences of what works, or what doesn’t. “It is also an opportunity to discuss some ethical issues which are rising up the agenda, such as big data or human rights. Together, the forum attendees are able to find ways of working to make their ethics programmes, and ultimately their businesses, successful,” said Philippa Foster Back.
Every year, the European Business Ethics Forum invites only those organisations which have over 500 employees. This reveals that large businesses are open to public discussions about problems concerning ethics. Also, it shows that large companies care about their leadership status but in the right and professional way.
In summary, the open discussion and sharing of great experiences can become a very effective tool for companies which are still confronted with ethical dilemmas in their business environment. This can help support managers to improve their management of ethical objectives, which in turn motivates their team members, and builds a more open and trusting business industry.
If you would like to find out more about European Business Ethics Forum, visit: www.ebef.eu