Business Ethics Week kicks off Nov. 6
Students in the College of Business will hear from industry experts on business ethics, corporate responsibility and sustainability
A scan of headlines from the past few months shows that the workplace issues women experienced 40 years ago haven’t gone away. There’s been a recent deluge of sexual harassment claims against leading executives and TV personalities and well-documented complaints related to equity and diversity in the tech industry. These are all reasons why San Francisco State University’s annual Business Ethics Week is so important, says SF State Associate Professor of Management Denise Kleinrichert. “There are still disturbing discussions about the workplace that you would have heard in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. We’re well into the 2010s and we’re still wrestling with the same issues,” she said.
The College of Business’ 12th annual Business Ethics Week, which is sponsored by Kaiser Permanente, is a chance to examine those persistent issues, as well as other ethical quandaries, such as how companies can balance sustainability with profit. “Our goal is to provide teachable moments for students so they understand the complexities and challenges of making decisions every day,” said Kleinrichert, who leads the event’s planning committee. “Each of those decisions has an impact beyond the person making the decisions — it impacts employees, customers and the natural environment.” Events run Nov. 6 through Nov. 9 and include talks from prominent business leaders, presentations on sustainability, a film screening and a student debate over a contemporary ethical issue.
Business Ethics Week is also a reminder for students that businesses can make good choices, Kleinrichert said. “Companies can make decisions that have positive impacts on the natural environment, such as by diverting waste water or using less toxic materials,” she said. That emphasis shows in the week’s speakers, several of whom have made sustainability a priority in their business model. For example, the owners of Dandelion Chocolate, which is based in San Francisco’s Mission District, source their cacao and sugar from small farmers throughout the world. They ensure the products are sustainably grown and the farmers are well-compensated.
Other topics covered will include corporate compliance, everyday ethics in business, and social responsibility. For more information, visit the Business Ethics Week website and click here for a full schedule of events.