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Business ethics, when the company reconciles profits and values

Obernai, 28.06.2018

Business ethics, when the company reconciles profits and values


Business ethics is one of the three major strands of corporate social responsibility within Hager Group. The Sustainable Development Week this year will have helped to raise awareness on this topic, including a new conference format. 


Business ethics: the central theme of European Sustainable Development Week at Hager Forum

The third edition of the Positive Impact Week, the Hager Group version of the European Sustainable Development Week followed on from the previous one: "The company of tomorrow will either be ethical or it will not last." (Emmanuelle Duez). Why? "Business ethics is crucial for Hager Group because we need it to build trust, and trust is the foundation of lasting relationships", he recalled by way of introduction.


In this spirit, participants were called upon to consider this question: In business, do we have to choose between profits and integrity? What attitude should we adopt in the face of an ethical dilemma? What social and environmental impacts can arise from our personal and professional choices?


A disconcerting conference/debate in a café-philosophy spirit that challenges employees on the issue of business ethics

Roger Steare, The Corporate Philosopher, had already told us about it. It's not so much a conference as a conversation. Hager Forum has never lived up to its name so well! Introspection, discussions among participants and with the speaker. Exchange was the keyword.

And it came along with a number of key messages attached:

  • "The most important thing is to create a corporate culture where we can discuss and debate what needs to be done together.”
  • "We also need to create opportunities to make decisions together.”
  • Work transforms most of us into compliant robots driven by fear. But fear is the worst enemy of ethical decisions.
  • Contrary to popular belief, pay, prestige and pressure are not drivers at work. Humans need purpose, to progress and to play. Roger Steare summed up the situation by saying that it is a matter of finding "the right balance between a common objective, moral values and simple rules."

Go here for the highlights of the conference: Good Business, A choice between profits and integrity? Roger Steare. 


 "Ethics is knowing the difference between what you have a right to do and what is right to do." (Potter Stewart)


Experimentation and humour, two ways to increase employee awareness of business ethics

If participants felt like actors in the opening conference, what about the other two participatory events organised to illustrate the theme?

Firstly, there was a practical workshop inspired by the fairphone company. Under the pretext of dismantling a mobile phone, employees go behind the scenes to learn specifically about the social and environmental issues surrounding rare metals. This is a chance for the sustainable development team to raise awareness around eco-design and to draw parallels with Hager products.

Professional ethics is a rather serious subject though, isn't it? We turned this on its head by using humour to make an impression. Three actors from Les Improvisateurs mixed sketches and improvisation to place the participants before ethical dilemmas. Between laughter and song, the final chorus was engraved in everyone's memory. "If you have an ethical problem send an email to …!"


Relive the best moments of the Positive Impact Week #3 in photos.


The last word is from a Hager Group employee attending the conference: "Ethics is something present in our daily lives and should be taken into account in our industrial activities and in our personal lives.”

That's why the Positive Impact Week #3 is on the agenda of the sustainable development team which has just launched an internal programme revolving around ethics. The debate around ethics is only just getting started!


Watch or re-view our previous conferences and discover the programme of upcoming events at Hager Forum.


They were there and can testify! 

"The subject was disconcerting at first because we are not used to considering ethics and business together, especially from a philosophical angle - that's really innovative." A Hager Group employee.


"It may also be a way to approach them in a slightly different way while asking serious and real questions." A Hager Group employee after seeing Les Improvisateurs perform.


See you soon!