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Ethical Management More Rewarding

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Got one thing to say about this article:  suuurreee buddyy…TIK

By Bae Ji-sook
Staff Reporter

Ethics is back in business, where the general notion of defining right or wrong is seen as the future of capitalism, Georg Kell, executive director of the United Nations Global Compact Office, said Wednesday.

“The so-called global financial crisis has been painful for everyone but has given us momentum to think about where we are and what we have been doing,” Kell said in an interview with The Korea Times, which was held between sessions of the Business for Environment (B4E) Summit in southern Seoul.

“We, especially business leaders, came to admit the vulnerability of the market and the fact that bubbles burst at some point. They have noticed that finance itself cannot create any value and have acknowledged that something sustainable and credible is needed in order to maintain the life that we have had,” he said.

The financial analyst suggested ethical management as their newest focus. “Human rights, the environment, transparency and credibility are rapidly replacing evaluation criteria in looking at a business. They have become the main powerhouse in sustainable development and management for the future alongside good leadership and diligence.”

Kell’s organization has been taking the lead in designing the next step for capitalism.

Established as a strategic policy initiative for businesses that are committed to aligning their operations and strategies with 10 universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labor, the environment and anti-corruption, the U.N. Global Compact has been eager to promote the virtue of ethical management and corporate social responsibility (CSR).

From working against corruption and bribery to the elimination of forced or compulsory labor, and the encouragement of environmentally-friendly technologies, it looks to get more businesses and local administrations to act more socially responsible without legally forcing them to.

Each year, 7,700 corporate participants and stakeholders ― from over 130 countries ― are asked to turn in a progress evaluation report on the sectors.

While it is not legally required, since many of the participants are world-class enterprises the documents are taken seriously and used as a standard text for next-generation management.

“What we are doing is simple. We select some of the noticeable ones and exhibit their performances throughout the world. It is more of a motivation and incentive system than punishment or criticism,” Kell said.

There will be a leader summit in June in New York to design more guidelines to specify evaluation criteria.

This year, the environment will be the key issue, with participants being asked to take a more environmentally-friendly approach in their business or administration, and to take aggressive measures against climate change including reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“Only 10 percent of the global business is on the right side of the agenda so far. Others have been remaining on the fence or actively opposing the idea, concerned about short-sighted fiscal figures,” he said.

“However, I am sure that tightened evaluation on their environmental performance will be rewarded by the public, who are becoming increasingly aware of nature and how the changing climate is affecting our lives.”

Kell admitted that CSR and environmentally-friendly regimes could easily end up as a one-night-stand for a very few early birds because many eco-friendly products are expensive and seem less attractive, allowing only a limited number of people to purchase them.

“But that’s how innovations start,” he said. “I also believe that they could create a whole new market of customers with a different consumption behavior. It will pay off. I believe in the power of persuasion,” he said.

Kell said that he thinks Korea has a high potential to keep up with transparent, responsible and greener management in that sense.

“People are dedicated to a good performance, which drives them through the whole process once they set their minds to one thing. If that is the case for CSR, I am sure they will do their best,” he said. “Also, the information and technology techniques are remarkable. They are a source of productivity and also the key to open access to information. This is a good sign.”

bjs@koreatimes.co.kr
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Written by recruiterinkorea

April 23, 2010 at 11:20 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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