Here’s a short interview from an event called Reuptational Risk Drivers for the Insurance Industry, at the Swiss Re Centre for Global Dialogue. ‘Reputational Risk’ is an unfortunate name, but those attending meant much more than merely whitewashing or, as one put it, corporate social responsibility as ‘business as usual, but plant some trees too’. Getting into moral trouble is a risk to a business’s reputation, but the motivation for doing the right thing ought to go much deeper than this — and I think, for those speaking and attending the event, it certainly does.
On the ground, it’s complicated. For example, you might think that a company ought to have no dealings at all with businesses which operate in places with dubious human rights records. I’m inclined to agree, but I met people who talked about the moral value of sometimes engaging with such businesses with a view to changing them for the better, improving conditions and pay and prospects generally for workers. They’re asking hard questions — walking away from some profitable deals rather than run the risk of making a moral mistake. Taking part in the event was certainly eye-opening for me.