Thinking Ethics was a project launched in Geneva to foster the debate about ethics. A few friends, fed up with only reading about abuses in the media, decided to hold a forward-looking seminar on five subjects: ethics and performance, ethics and knowledge, ethics and consciousness, ethics and disobedience and ethics in real time. If moral has to do with right and wrong, then ethics is its application in society. We believe that people need to talk about the subject to determine the level of ethics they want. The book Thinking Ethics, a result of the seminar, is to start the discussion. This blog is a contribution to the conversation. :
It seems it is no longer sufficient to work for the improvement of society - how you do is also under increasing scrutiny. Microfinance is not left at the edge of financial best practices - some investors have just signed the Principles of Conduct - article about it from Sustainable Finance Geneva with links to participants here, at the Responsible Finance Forum in the Hague.
If you are interested in the OECD's "Global Forum on International Investment", the papers of the speakers can be downloaded from here. The full title of the seminar was "Beyond the crisis: international investment for a stronger cleaner fairer global economy"
Interesting contribution from Hao Lu below for the NGO Manager: e-library
Apart from work, I recently prepared a short reader about foundation/charity/NPO and Socially Responsible Investment, for the NGO Manager website, perhaps one of best-known non-profit management resource website online of its kind. Given their explicit philanthropic mission and considerable asset size, it makes sense for foundations, charities and NPOs to practice SRI rather than only preaching to the private sector. However, this seems to be a rather underdeveloped area due to lack of awareness and understanding among them. So I hope that this reader might be a meaningful attempt in this regard.
As this subject may be of interest to your work, I am taking the liberty to send you this link at
Ebay is starting a microfinance intiative! US clients of ebay can donate as low as 100 USD and choose which area it will go to. See article in finextra.com here. Again a service/good works which is being democratized and moving into a type of peer to peer model. Compassionate capitalism at its best!
Shape the future with responsible investments - so goes the mission statement of Forma Futura, and independent asset management company with headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland. They favor investments that foster a sustainable quality of life. Check out their values here.
I was at an interesting seminar this Friday and Saturday entitled "Ethics, Finance and Responsibility" organized by the Observatoire de la Finance in Geneva, who publish the financial ethics review "Finance & the Common Good" bilingually in English and French. The seminar started off with the awards for the Robin Cosgrove Prize, which promotes greater awareness among young people throughout the world of the benefits of ethics in finance. There was also a session honoring the memory of Professor Emilio Fontela who had shortly passed away. Otto Hieronymi summed up his view of Emilio's scholarship under the title "from econometrics to the social market economy", and mentioned that he worked towards a sustainable society of knowledge.
The session on incorporating ethics in economic and management education raised some interesting points. Prof. Christian Walter of Sciences Po in Paris floated the hypothesis that the scientific dimension of finance models the social world. The formulas and mathematical models need to be deconstructed. He suggested a philosophical teaching of financial theory history. By explaining the hypothesis of each financial model, and the ethical implications, one could hopefully find a better way to have an ethical impact.
The Observatoire de la Finance just sent in the description of their new prize - under innovative ideas for ethics in finance.
"The new international prize aims to promote greater awareness among young people in the banking and related financial industries of the benefits of ethics in finance. The Robin Cosgrove Prize is open to young people, aged 35 years or younger, from throughout the world. It will be awarded for creative papers setting out projects or proposals for innovative ways to promote ethics in finance and banking, especially in emerging markets.
The Robin Cosgrove Prize honours the vision of Robin, who was a bright young investment banker who died at age 31. He believed passionately that a major barrier to economic development was the absence of integrity and often the lack of ethical practice in banking and financial systems. “How can a country prosper”, he would ask, “if people cannot trust their banks or financial institutions?”
The management of the Prize is under the supervision of the Observatoire de la Finance, which is a Swiss not-for-profit foundation based in Geneva (www.obsfin.ch)
The Observatoire, working in cooperation with Dr Carol Cosgrove-Sacks, Robin’s mother and a former director in the United Nations in Geneva, has set up a distinguished international Jury to evaluate the papers submitted for the Prize. The Jury will allocate the prize money of USD20,000.
Entries for the competition for the Prize are invited to address the subject of Innovative Ideas for Ethics in Finance. The papers must be submitted electronically to the Observatoire before the deadline of midnight, 28th February 2007 (CET). The entries may be written in English or in French, or in another language with a translation into English or French.
Further details regarding the Prize, Robin’s vision, the international Jury, and the terms and conditions for submitting papers for the 2006-7 Prize will be found at the website: www.robincosgroveprize.org."
The Observatoire de la Finance, a Swiss non-profit foundation dedicated to promoting and encouraging ethical practice in financial institutions, has just launched a new prize to promote greater awareness among young people throughout the world of the benefits of ethics in finance. More
The *Robin Cosgrove Prize*, which aims at promoting ethical awareness among young people in banking and related industries, will award USD 20,000 for creative papers setting out projects or proposals for innovative ways to promote ethics in finance and banking. It honours the vision of the investment banker Robin Cosgrove who died at age 31 and who believed that a major barrier to economic development was the absence of integrity and ethical practice in banking and financial systems.
The UN secretary general has just launched "priciples for responsible investment" backed by 20 pension funds, foundations and special government funds and 70 experts around the globe. The backers who have signed the principles represent 10% of the world's market capitalization.
The 6 voluntary principles are:
1. Incorporate ESG (environmental, social and corporate governance) issues into investment analysis and decision-making process
2. Be active owners and incorporate ESG issues into ownership policies and practices
3. Seek appropriate disclosures on ESG issues by the entities invested in
4. Promote acceptance and implementation of the Principles within the investment industry
5. Enhance the effectiveness in the implementation of the Principles
6. Individually report on progress towards implementing the Principles