On October 3rd, the Albany Club at 91 King Street West will host a luncheon to mark the occasion of a book release – but this is no regular book and the authors are no regular Joes. This event will see renowned Professor of Business Ethics Leonard (Len) Brooks of the University of Toronto and his colleague David Selley – a retired partner at Ernst and Young – talk about their “insights into the new topics and updates” on issues of corporate social responsibility, topics which are newly explored by these two veterans of finance in the fourth edition of their seminal work entitled Ethics and Governance: Raising the Bar.
Professor Brooks brings an extensive career in the financial industry to the table, not only in his position as Professor of Business Ethics and Accounting at the Rotman School of Management but also as the Director of the Master of Management and Professional Accounting Program, Director of the Diploma in Forensic Accounting, and as Executive Director of the Clarkson Centre for Business Ethics and Board Effectiveness, all positions which are housed at his alma master, the University of Toronto.
David Selley, former Ernst and Young’s national technical auditing office in Toronto for 19 years, continues to be an active and respected figure in the business ethics community. Selley was a founding director of the Canadian Centre for Ethics and Corporate Policy, and he currently sits on the board of Transparency International’s Canadian chapter, double-hatting as the Treasurer and as a Director of that non-profit organization.
Perhaps somewhat fittingly, the last time that Brooks and Selley published a new version of their book was back in 2008 – the year that will live on in infamy as the onset of the Global Financial Crisis. The table of contents for the 2008 edition shows that the economic downturn had not yet entered the picture (at least not significantly enough to merit mention in the first few pages of this publication).
Instead, the expected canonical material is treated – understanding the need for corporate culture, developing an ethical corporate culture, maintaining an ethical corporate culture, and special topics (making ethical decisions, conflicts of interest, and international operations). Judging by this bucket list of ethical considerations, more than a few of the business executives, stockbrokers, and investment bankers responsible for the world’s current economic malaise could have used some introspect from Brooks and Selley’s discourse.
Professor Brooks and Mr. Selley are set to share a wealth of knowledge with participants at the luncheon which will focus on the new reality of what they see as a “development of a corporate culture of integrity”. The speakers will also weigh in on how the global financial meltdown in 2008 and other big business busts have led to the “need for increased attention to anti-bribery programs, better ethics risk management, increasing calls for CSR and other forms of corporate accountability, and an understanding of what ethical leadership is, and how it should be developed and demonstrated.”
Fortunately for those attending this event, it falls during the same week as the 5th Annual PRI-CBERN Academic Network Conference at York University, which will be dealing with the evolution of responsible investing – another fascinating foray into ethical business which we invite all readers to participate in, or track on our Twitter page.