WORTH READING: Top CEOs Place High Value On Corporate Ethics And Social Responsibility To Drive Business

by Robert Reiss for Forbes.com 

Remember Gordon Gecko from the movie Wall Street? Little did we know then how closely life could imitate art when the likes of Enron, Bernie Madoff and a worldwide financial crisis lambasted the world’s economy a few years ago. But it also vaulted companies like the Ethisphere Institute, which since 2007 has annually compiled a list of World’s Most Ethical Companies, into the foreground of discussions involving the corporate ecosystem in the United States and abroad. Today, several studies illustrate the cultural changes that have elevated ethics and corporate social responsibility (CSR) more than ever.

To further explore this, I contacted leaders from various industries to discuss the state of corporate ethics and responsibility. Via email, I spoke with:

• Dan Amos, Chairman and CEO, Aflac, 11 time recipient of Ethisphere’s World’s Most Ethical Companies award and the leader in voluntary insurance sales at the worksite in the U.S.

• Timothy Erblich, CEO, Ethisphere Institute, a global leader in defining and advancing the standards of ethical business practices

• Rodney Martin, CEO, Voya Financial, a leading company that helps Americans plan, invest and protect their savings; and a 4-time World’s Most Ethical Companies honoree.

Robert Reiss: What phrase defines ethics and explain why?

Dan Amos: “Ethics is a mindset, not an option.” There is no alternative in today’s highly skeptical culture and when you do it right, consumers will respond in a positive way.

Tim Erblich: “Good Ethics is Good Business.” In fact, there is a growing body of data, including our own, that shows that the financial return of ethics (ROE) is significant.

Rodney Martin: Ethics is a reflection of our commitment to doing business the right way. We emphasize trust and transparency — and we reward our people based on not only what is achieved, but how it is achieved.

Reiss: What is the relationship between social corporate responsibility and ethics?

Martin: Corporate responsibility includes key aspects of a company culture, such as ethics and transparency; diversity, inclusion and equality; environmental sustainability; governance; and volunteerism and philanthropy. It has been invaluable in defining and building the character of the Voya brand. Corporate Responsibility, highlighted by the commitment of our people, demonstrate the authenticity of our culture — and help to deepen our relationships in our communities and with all of our stakeholder groups.

Erblich: Corporate Social Responsibility is a critical component of the overall ethics quotient. As is governance culture, transparency, risk management and employee, customers and community relations. At the same time, company culture, diversity, gender equity, philanthropy, keeping a healthy workplace environment are all traits of a socially responsible company. It is all combined to build trust.

Read the Full Article here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/robertreiss/2017/09/11/top-ceos-place-high-value-on-corporate-ethics-and-social-responsibility-to-drive-business/#689511894473