University of Makeni Sustainable Enterprise – 2 Leadership and environmental ethics Ethical leadership

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the environment

  • sustainability

  • globalization effects - e.g., exploitation, child-labour, social and environmental damage anywhere in the world

  • corruption, armed conflict and political issues

  • staff and customers relations - for instance education and training, health and safety, duty of care, etc

  • local community

  • and other social impacts on people's health and well-being

    Typically the above are interpreted within ethical investment so as to regard the following sectors and activities as being difficult to reconcile with profit and investment. As with other perspectives on this page, this is not a definitive list or set of absolute criteria. It's a set of examples to illustrate typical (modern Western) concerns of ethical investors and ethical business people:

    This is not an exhaustive list and is subject to change - as the world changes.

    As stated, this is not a pronouncement of what's unethical. It's a reflection of current attitudes, which you can use in your own way alongside the other information on this page to develop your own ideas as to what's ethical and what's not.

    Also as stated, things change with time and situation. For example if technology is developed enabling nuclear power to be safer and less impactful on the future then obviously concerns in this area would reduce and the ethical implications would decrease or disappear.

    Standards of what is considered ethical change over time, and generally these standards become more humane as humankind develops greater tolerance, awareness, and capacity for forgiveness and compassion.

    Humankind's - or any society's - capacity for ethical behaviour increases with its own safety and confidence of survival and procreation.

    Hence the human tendency to become less ethically flexible when under threat.

    Thus ethical behaviour is a relative judgement, as well as a subjective one. We cannot impose one society's moral code onto another society with different needs and demands.

    Interestingly what is considered unethical in present times, commonly becomes unlawful in the future. The leading ethical thinking of any time tends to pioneer social and civilization change.

    And so here lies substantial advantage for corporations and other groups and bodies which anticipate such changes. They adapt quicker, and are seen generally to lead rather than follow. They also manage change more successfully, since they have time to do it.

    Organisations and institutions which fall behind public ethical expectations find catching up a lot more difficult.


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