Ethics and Governance Workshop – April 25, 2019

Responsible Business Conduct encompasses compliance with laws; respecting human rights, environmental protection, labour relations and financial accountability.  It is a key factor in creating an open international investment climate and building a healthy business environment. The aim of the Responsible Business Conduct for Due Diligence manual published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) act as a recommendation for organizations to instil an ethical and responsible business practices. Ethics and governance are a core component of the skill base and knowledge of today’s professionals and businesses.

The Centre of Responsible Business (CERB) hosted a workshop on Ethics and Governance in collaboration with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA). The underlying theme of the workshop discussed ethical business practices to govern business activity. The crux of the workshop was to highlight the importance of ethics and governance in the present times. Responsible business conduct is no longer an afterthought, but rather it is a key priority on the global economic agenda. The workshop focused on defining and scaling up efforts of ethical business practices and governance. Ethics and governance have a direct effect on everyone’s daily life, not only considering the bottom line but also the impact of their activities on society.

Ethics and governance are sometimes assumed to be one and the same, however it is important to recognise and differentiate between them. Ethics is more concerned with considerations and dilemmas, while governance tackles ensuring high standards. The workshop stressed on the importance of these components on an individual level and a firm level as it leads to proficiency in regulatory regimes, compliance behaviour and operations and plays a role in key decisions. The ACCA programme has courses which equip an individual with the analytical and decision-making skills and knowledge to identify and resolve professional and ethical issues. Ethics and Governance is also a major pillar of foundation in the corporate world. At an individual level and at the level of a firm, ethics and governance characterizes leadership and is essential in the present day and for the future towards a sustainable economic growth.

Companies and individuals must broaden their approach to building “culture of integrity” which will lead to a company rethinking its corporate purpose, values and ethics beyond compliance. The workshop stressed on the need to cohesively align ethics and governance to achieve sustainability within an organization.