June 23, 2003

Business and Sustainability

Building Business Beyond Integrity

The meeting was attended by 12 members, 3 friends and 10 guests.

Business of the Institute

Stewardship and the Environment. Jim Haliburton reported that 12 private schools are to be included in the North Shore Schools recycling program. The proposal for recycling of batteries is going to the BC Municipalities Association for decision in September that would require battery manufacturers to take responsibility for accepting back used batteries. The Eco-Home project is proceeding. Jim has succeeded in getting the Vancouver Public Library to implement a full recycling program. He is also working to re-launch the environmental audit program using students from Capilano College in the Environmental Studies Program. Michael Dunn reported that the first meeting of the Board of the Gulf Islands Centre for Ecological Learning was held on June 2. Desmond Berghofer is representing the Institute on the Board and will be leading a visioning workshop for the Board on July 10. Programs for summer are being planned on all five islands.

Spirituality and Personal Development. Diane Jennings reported that this sector recognizes the foundational nature of its role and is searching for a project that will reflect this.

Health and Wellness. Maggie Gold reported that a group of health professionals interested in complementary medicine met on June 19 to discuss the creation of an integrated medical association. This was a very positive beginning and the group is meeting again on July 9.

Business and Sustainability. Desmond Berghofer reported that the motion supporting the idea of creating the Canada Measurement of Well-being Act was voted on in the House of Commons on June 3 and passed with a vote of 185 to 46. It is now proceeding to further consideration by a House of Commons committee. We should keep reminding MPs to support the process of this motion. This Canadian initiative was reported in the latest issue of the UK Journal “Positive News.”

Youth and Education. Bill Borgen reported that this sector is now proceeding to identify one or two public schools that will seriously implement a values-based curriculum with IFEL sponsorship in 2003-4.


Introduction. Gerri Schwartz introduced the program by referring to a story in a recent issue of Time, which recognized that a third of the population don't trust the media to be reporting with integrity. She also referred to a personal incident that caused her to withdraw trust from her dentist. The issue of building relationships of trust is key to the operation of a successful society. The IFEL is concerned with how to raise the bar on this issue and ask the institutions that serve us to do so by going beyond integrity.

Gerri then introduced Jim Randall as a guest speaker. Jim is a former Vice-President of BC Gas and is now consulting with CEOs in business on how to operate beyond integrity.

Jim defined going beyond integrity as going the extra mile in a relationship. It is more than doing things right. It is doing the right thing. It means doing more than what is expected. It means operating in such a way that you are perceived as being honest, fair and competent. It means being not only committed to the process of whatever you do, but also being committed to improving the process. A company operating beyond integrity shows that it cares about the people it serves.

This style of operating beyond integrity is revealed in the story of the business and the consistency of everyone in the business in living that story. It requires good management process to ensure that all parts of the organization operate this way. The objective is to unleash the power of employees, customers, investors and partners to build a successful enterprise based on trust and caring.

Gerri Schwartz then introduced Desmond Berghofer as a former Assistant Deputy Minister with Alberta Advanced Education responsible for leading a team to help build the system of advanced education in Alberta.

Desmond picked up on the theme raised by Jim Randall by addressing the issue of good process to achieve the outcome described by Jim. This begins by having a framework that allows the organization to develop competence to operate beyond integrity. Competence means to perform at a high standard. But what is the standard from an ethical perspective? The Institute for Ethical Leadership is working to develop a universal standard that could be adopted by all enterprises. This is called the Ethical Competence Framework.

The Framework incorporates three dimensions of competence:

  1. Personal Competence, which determines how members of the organization maintain their personal commitment to an ethical life
  2. Social Competence, which determines how the organization handles relationships
  3. Global Competence, which determines how the organizations shows an understanding of the Earth and all life on it as a web of delicate connections requiring stewardship for sustainability.

These three sets of competencies are combined into the Ethical Competence Scale, which allows organizations to assess their level of competence in qualities and skills such as trustworthiness, conscientiousness, courage and determination (Personal Competence); understanding and respecting others and working collaboratively with good communication (Social Competence); understanding interconnections with others and the natural world and operating with a sense of responsibility for creating a sustainable future (Global Competence).


Participants were asked to discuss the question of how the Institute for Ethical Leadership can work in the community to raise the level of ethical competence to create enterprises that operate beyond integrity. The following ideas were suggested.

  1. Take the message out to Chambers of Commerce and to business organizations like Rotary and the Lions Club.
  2. Introduce the concept into organizations not just at the CEO level but at other strategic levels.
  3. Develop the Framework into an accreditation process for establishing a Registry of Companies that have achieved this level of operating beyond integrity.
  4. Encourage businesses to use this concept as a marketing tool as the reason why customers would want to do business with them.
  5. Create Awards of Excellence based on the Framework.
  6. Link training in Ethical Competence to the ongoing education of professionals for maintaining their certification.
  7. Take the concept to those responsible for training professionals in universities and colleges.
  8. Piggyback training in ethical competence with the values-based curriculum being developed by the Youth and Education sector.
  9. Use the Spirituality and Personal Development sector to develop a program of mentorship on ethical competence for IFEL members.
  10. Take the concept to Boards of Directors of various enterprises with the idea of establishing an ethical accreditation process for Boards.


Gerri Schwartz concluded the meeting by inviting guests to consider joining the Institute as members or friends to become part of network of people working to benefit the common good.

Next Meeting

The Institute is taking a summer break in July and August.

The next meeting is September 22, 2003: 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Vancouver Public Library
Theme: Stewardship and the Environment