Saturday, November 28, 2009

CBERN Workshop in Vancouver

By Christie Stephenson

On November 20th, the Canadian Business Ethics Research Network (CBERN) held a day-long workshop in Vancouver focused on its Ethical Issues Mapping Project. The meeting was convened by Dr. Simon Handelsman, CBERN's Pacific Region Hub coordinator, and attended by academics, as well as representatives of the First Nations, investor and business communities.

CBERN’s Project Director Professor Wesley Cragg overviewed CBERN's aim to develop research links between academics and practitioners of business ethics, corporate social responsibility, sustainable development, triple bottom line and corporate governance. Dr. Handelsman then discussed the mapping project, a pilot project to identify key ethical issues faced by the resources industry in BC and the Yukon, and identify, characterize and link researchers focused on business ethics and corporate social responsibility in the region.

UBC graduate student Mohit Bhatnagar presented the results of mapping project survey. These results revealed research priorities that were classified as extractive industry companies overseas and human rights, government policies vs self governance, fundamental goals of business, effects of economic crisis, indigenous and aboriginal peoples, ecological sustainability, culture of understanding, impact of capital markets, and emerging markets.

The workshop included a discussion of priorities for research and networking, as well as the role of ethics in academic programmes by Professor David Silver, Chair in Business Ethics at the W.M.Young Centre for Applied Ethics. In addition, a panel session was held on ethical and human rights in China by Edward Wang, of Raydwell Consulting, and William Roberts, of The Whistler Forum. A second panel session was held on public policy implications by Dr. Jane Lister, of the Liu Institute for Global Issues, and Pierre Gratton, President & CEO of the Mining Association of BC, and CBERN's James Cooney. A final session on First Nations Issues by moderated by UBC's Dr. Dawn Mills, and featured consultant Bruce McKnight and Joe Ringwald, of VP Brett Resources Inc., as well as Dave Porter of the Leadership Council (AFN, UBCIC, FNS).

Dr. Handelsman called the meeting "a great success in bringing people together, representing a step forward for establishing in BC a relevant focal point for collaboration in the field of business ethics in the 21st Century."

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