International Leadership Symposium on Ethics in Business 2012:

Brussels, 5th December 2012 – It was a fully packed plenary hall at the European Parliament when the World Forum for Ethics in Business (WFEB) convened for its 8th International Leadership Symposium on Ethics in Business from 30th November – 1st December in Brussels.

Held in cooperation with its strategic partners The World Bank Institute, International Association for Human Values and the Earth Charter, WFEB’s conference brought together stakeholders from across all sectors (business,politics, academics, institutions, media, inter-faith leaders) to debate on the burning topic of ‘Rethinking Capitalism’.

More than 200 delegates from 30 countries in the world came to reflect on the current global scenario and to come up with an action agenda to further foster ethics and good governance.

The spirit of the conference towards action orientation became evident right from the inaugural speech by WFEB President Mrs. Rajita Kulkarni who started by sharing a report back on WFEB’s key strategic objectives and milestones in the past few years, emphasizing that there is a plan for action for the coming years which will be enhanced by the inputs and discussions of the day.

The video message of WFEB’s co-founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in the inaugural panel advised the delegates to work together on one common platform to re-instill the faith in our current system, otherwise it will lead to anarchy. ‘To re-establish faith and trust in the economic system, we need a holistic moral and ethical revival including all the four essential pillars of society: the Government Institutions, Private and Civil Society Organizations, Faith Based Organizations and the Media. We need to foster a coordinated effort amongstthese stakeholders’, Sri Sri said.

Prof. Jerzy Buzek, Former Prime Minister of Poland and Former President of the European Parliament, added in his keynote address, ‘The recent economic crisis made us come back to the question how to strengthen the ethical aspect in our life’.

Ms. Huguette Labelle, Chair of the Board, Transparency International, recom-mended in her keynote address five values as the framework for ethical-business, ‘Fairness, Stewardship, Integrity, Transparency and Accountability’. By following these, she said, she sees as a win-win for shareholders, the communities we work for and for humanity.

Further speakers included Dr. Sanjay Pradhan, Vice President, World Bank Institute, Mr. Nirj Deva, MEP and Vice-President of the European Parliament Development Committee, Mr. VK Sharma, Executive Director, Reserve Bank of India, Mr. Amir A. Dossal, Chairman, Global Partnerships Forum and more.

Speakers and participants commonly agreed that there is a need to shift the prevailing paradigm that business needs to be unethical in order to be successful. They further pledged for a redefinition of the concept of capitalism and for a change in attitude. Read the full conference report here.