During a recent visit to Dubai, L’Oreal’s senior vice president and chief ethics officer Emmanuel Lulin spoke with Gulf Business about why good ethical practices are more important to corporations than ever before.
In business today there is no chance of survival for those who don’t practice good ethics.
This is the view of the senior vice president of the largest cosmetics company in the world, who tells Gulf Business on a recent trip to Dubai that it’s now integrity rather than the bottom line that will mark out successful and sustainable businesses.
“Traditionally, corporations have been appraised, assessed and evaluated according to financial reasons,” says Emmanuel Lulin, who also serves as chief ethics officer at French giant L’Oreal.
“This time is over – and probably over forever. Now, if you want to appraise an organisation – public or private – you need to not only look at the accounts, but also at the value of the culture of integrity.”
Paris-based Lulin, who has witnessed varying degrees of ethical practices during trips to some 70 countries across the globe, argues that this integrity will determine which companies survive in the coming years – largely due to the public’s perception of their credentials.
“The currency for the economic results may be the euro, the dollar, or the yen, but the currency for ethics is trust,” he continues.
“You need trust, and the level of trust of any organisation is a pretty good indicator of its sustainability.
“A company with a good culture of integrity is worth more – in fact, it’s worth much more – than a company with a weak culture of integrity. An organisation with a weak culture of integrity will one day or another disappear. What is new in the 21st century is that it happens faster than before.”
His belief is backed up by other notable business leaders, who have echoed Lulin’s sentiments of late.
In November the chair of the US Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen, said that the Fed’s effectiveness depends on the nation’s confidence that it is acting solely in the public’s interest, claiming that she and her colleagues had to “demonstrate our ethical standards in ways that leave little room for doubt”.
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