I was invited to the Symposium on Ethics in Business­ Corporate Culture & Spirituality 2007, held at the Hotel Sheraton and the European Parliament in Brussels on 2nd and 3rd December 2007. This symposium was organized by the International Association for Human Values (IAHV) in cooperation with the Europe-India Chamber of Commerce of which I am a member.

The aim of the symposium was to provide an opportunity for leaders in society to discuss evolving leadership styles that lend themselves to an ethically responsible corporate community. The question posed was Innovation through Ethics?

Among the speakers were his holiness Shri Ravi Shankar who said we needed to have more fun as then the world automatically becomes a better place. In the same line of thinking Prof. Ruud Lubbers, Former Prime Minister of the Netherlands and co-founder of the Earth Charter, concluded his speech with the words “Let’s celebrate life”;

Currently my colleague, ING’s Rutger Koopmans stressed that ethics should not become part of the Balance Score Card. Dr Helga Breuniger was most emphatic that we should support team rather than heroes as companies are like islands, separated on the surface but connected in the deep.
Mr. Jacques Santer, former President of the European Commission, stressed the notion of solidarity and Prof. Peter Eigen, founder of Transparency International, urged that a lot needs still to be done;

In a nutshell it’s

  1. Business Principles (Governance and Leadership),
  2. Sustainability and the
  3. ability to create shared value.

“It is not what we do, but also what we do not do, for which we are accountable.” French playwright Molière

The symposium was followed by a business summit EU-India Trade Relations and Beyond: Dynamics of Mergers & Acquisitions and the Role of Corporate Governance:

The Summit did:

  • address the issues connected with the political economy of the EU-India relations and look at how EU economic and political interests work in the EU countries;
  • analyze the dynamics of merger and acquisition in the wake of landmark deals by the corporate India;
  • evaluate the EU competition policies and development strategy in a theoretical context, with particular emphasis on trade and economic relations;
  • examine the EU ability to portray its identity as an international actor to address the political and economic dimensions of the EU-India strategic partnership; and
  • discuss the institutional, legal and policy framework of the EU-India co-operation.