Ethics as a key business driver

By Teamspirit on Monday, 21 January 2019

Being ethical is no longer a behind-the-scenes activity relegated to a footnote in the annual report. A year on since Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock’s call to businesses to define their societal purpose, ethics and purpose have become a c-suite agenda that’s now driving business strategy.

Both Starling Bank and Barclays have introduced gambling blockers, to help ensure that no payments can be made to any gambling sites. It’s an example of businesses stepping up, to fill gaps in policy and to meet the sentiment of both investors and users.

The cost of not meeting ethical expectations is all too apparent. Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal underlines how Facebook lost sight of its purpose and broke the implicit value proposition to its users.

Being ethical and purpose driven is creating new business models such as B Corps, who meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. A growing global movement of people using business as a force for good, including such brands as Patagonia and Hootsuite, it’s a powerful way to attract and retain talent, and to win business.

Many fintechs, such as Jumo, are from inception helping create greater inclusion and equality, with a driving purpose to create a positive impact. Companies including Arabesque are using self-learning AI quant models to assess the performance and sustainability of globally listed companies, and along with Tribe Impact Capital offer UN SDGbased ethical investment, without compromising profit.

2019 will see ethics move centre stage. Good business not only makes business sense, it’s now a business necessity.


• It’s time to take a stance. Define the ethics of the business and communicate what you stand for. Take the lead, rather than being on the back foot.

• Start with purpose and ask yourself, what sort of corporate citizen do you want to be?

• Be wary of the trend wagon. Your purpose must be authentic, drive behaviour internally, and be delivered across the supply chain.