Ethical Business - Reality or Myth?

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Andy Love MP has agreed to host a meeting in the House of Commons on ethical business - myth or reality.

Adam Smith the great advocate of laissez faire capitalism once said, "People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices."

How true is this to day and how possible is it for business to be ethical? Certainly since the late 1980s there has been growing pressure on business to consider the “greater good” but recent events especially in the banking industry and public utilities question whether this is possible.

Speaking at this meeting will be,

Andy Love MP who is Chair of the Parliamentary All Party Group on Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) and is also on the Social Enterprise All Party Group as well. Andy is also a Co-operative MP and a great advocate of the cooperative movement that came into being in the 19th century as an alternative to then then growing laissez faire capitalism.

Christiana Fatoki is the founder and CEO of Visionnaire Consulting a Social Enterprise that promotes Ethical Financial Advice who uses their profits to provide Financial Education to support hard to reach communities. Visionnaire also provide programmes and partner with Charities to help their vulnerable users gain a better understanding of their finances and plan for the future.

Christiana has spoken at a number of leading industry conferences, events, workshops and roundtables. Recent conferences have included RSA Reboot, Theology of Land Conference, reviewing the state of the tax system and speaking for the Young Fabian Future of Finance Network. She is also filmed a documentary on debt suicide with economist Fred Harrison and played a leading role in Taxing Question of Land due to screened at the RSA on the 3rd of September.

Tony Greenham is Head of Finance and Business at nef, leading the programme of research into reforming the financial sector and aligning the interests of society and business.In addition to the programme areas of banking reform, monetary policy, community currencies and sustainable financial markets, he has research interests in local and regional development, and post-growth economics. Tony is a regular media commentator on banking issues, contributing to various BBC programmes including BBC Today, Newsnight, Radio 5 Live, as well as Sky News and Channel 4 News and writing for the Sunday Times, Guardian, Daily Mail and Huffington Post.

Lily Lapenna is the CEO and founder of UK based social enterprise MyBnk. In this role, Lily has been appointed a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2011, selected as an Ashoka fellow in 2010, and named Social Entrepreneur of the Year by the New Statesman in 2008. As a speaker she has passionately made the case for social enterprise, financial and enterprise education and women in leadership. She has shared her experiences at The World Economic in Dalian and in Brussels as well as speaking at academic institutions including: the London Business School, The University of Oxford, the Cass Business School (London), IESE Business School (Barcelona)

Lily will also be bringing with her one of the young people Mybank has helped. Bejay Mulenga is an 18-year-old social entrepreneur with a background in youth marketing and branding. He is currently the founder and director of Supa Tuck , a youth-run, school based, enterprise programme where young people run their own tuck shop. Bejay has just finished his A-levels and has spent the summer getting his social enterprise of the ground with support and investment from MyBnk. He is also currently studying a Business Management course at Westminster College.

In this meeting we will discuss if businesses can behave in an open and ethical way. We will not only look at the behaviour of major corporations but also at the growing social enterprise movement.

It is clear that some businesses do advocate an ethical code and profess the importance of it. Then again there is the blossoming social enterprise and social business movements that have grown up in the last 20 years and many of these believe that business must also address the social good as well as make a profit. Many are created to do both and some see themselves as an ethical alternative to corporate capitalism.

This movement will look not only look at established corporate capitalism but also at the growing social enterprise movement and discuss if this is the way forward to a more open, transparent and ethical future.

This meeting is being sup[ported and sponsored by Visionnaire a social enterprise that promotes alternative forms of finance and supports grass roots movements to change the way that the financial system is currently run and managed.

 

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  • Nick S.

    It was a great session, thanks Francis for all your hard work. It's all about increasing awareness, and that's where the new technology is so great. Has everyone seen "Inequality in America" and "the One Percent" on Youtube? Great videos! Shared ownership is the way forward: mutuals, cooperatives and so on. But it's going to be an uphill struggle, as the forces arrayed against us are very powerful indeed. I'm fine with capitalism - just not with unbalanced capitalism. We are now seriously unbalanced.

    September 12, 2013

  • Vic

    Thanks for all those who organised and brought together those who spoke. A diverse range of speakers who all spoke eloquently and gave excellent examples of their standpoints.

    September 11, 2013

  • Suzanne L.

    I got held up by tube delay and then impossible queue so missed the beginning and was a bit unclear about the topic. I would have liked to ask how the John Lewis Partnership model fitted in with the other types, with its employees still being the major stakeholders.

    September 11, 2013

  • Ruby

    Excellent, informative debate!

    September 11, 2013

  • Francis S.

    Sorry for all those who got caught up in the queue and only found out about the change of venue quite late. The queue was very long at the Cromwell Green entrance last night because there was a function on and the House was also debating the "gagging Clause" so there was quite a wait.

    Despite that most people did make it and the room was packed so thanks to all those who did get there and I hope you felt it was worthwhile.

    September 11, 2013

    • Prodeepta D.

      Thank you, Francis, for a truly stimulating session. In the context of business and ethics, the bold assertion by the 19th century Indian industrialist, Jamshetji Tata, which still is the central philosophy of all Tata companies, is of particular interest, He said, "In a free enterprise, the community is not just another stakeholder in business, but is in fact the very purpose of its existence." Where industries and businesses on their own do not declare and serve the interests of the communities, regulations need to ensure such conduct.

      2 · September 11, 2013

  • Doug M.

    Great meeting with inspiring speakers (and attendees). Looking forward to follow-up meeting on #socent. Would love to discuss potential failings of socent and how they can be prevented or mitigated.

    September 11, 2013

  • Eugene B.

    great francis, simply amazing place

    September 11, 2013

  • Ian D.

    It was insightful & inspiring

    September 11, 2013

  • Phil T.

    Too long Q - abandoned the attempt at 1830 when 20 minutes from the checkpoint! I had received the notification of the change but could not reach the Q before 1815! Ah well.....

    September 11, 2013

  • Ivo

    A word on corporations: 100 years ago, the historian F.W. Maitland wrote: ‘It is said—and appeal is made to long experience—that men are more conscientious when they are doing acts in their own names than when they are using the name of a corporation.’ Maitland was intending to write a long treatise on the damnability of corporations when (abruptly) he died. Corporations have gained immensely in power since Maitland’s day. It is doubtful whether any legally-imposed objective can substitute for individual morality, and it seems to me that, unless he is disempowered, Corporate Man will finish off the job he has started and destroy all prospects for homo sapiens on Earth.

    September 11, 2013

  • Sarah H.

    Shame about the division bell twice interrupting. Interesting range of speakers. Slightly longer for each would have been good. Felt that scratched the surface of several important topics but not sufficient time to do them all justice. Good intro though.

    1 · September 10, 2013

  • Jonathan W.

    Sad that I wasn't able to join due going to Grimond Rom, then too long security queue to HoC.

    September 10, 2013

  • Jessie H.

    Good

    September 10, 2013

  • Emma

    Sorry I can't make tonight but hope to come to another event soon.

    September 10, 2013

  • Sophie D.

    My apologies, I am no longer able to attend tonight's meeting. I hope it goes really well. All the best, Sophie

    September 10, 2013

  • Francis S.

    The meeting tonight is no longer in the Grimond Room of Portcullis House. It has been changed to Committee Room 5 in the Palace of Westminster (House of Commons.)

    You now enter at the St Stephens entrance (Cromwell Green) which is the main entrance to the House of Commons and is about 4 minutes from Westminster Tube.

    Ask any policeman there if you are not sure. The queue can be quite long at security so try to arrive in good time

    Sorry for the change but they do do this to us from time to time.

    See you all there

    September 10, 2013

  • Joanna S.

    Unfortunately I have a number of late meetings and will not make the event in time. I look forward to the next one and hope to see/hear a recording of the event.

    September 10, 2013

    • Benoit C.

      Unfortunately wont be able to make it (work). Look forward to the next meeting Francis.

      September 10, 2013

  • Francesca

    This will be my first event - look forward to it.

    September 9, 2013

  • eliana m.

    Travelling until the 15 i am afraid now.

    September 2, 2013

  • terence f.

    Sorry to miss this but I am running a professional event nearby.

    August 15, 2013

120 went

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