At the 2009 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, the Forum of Young Global Leaders launched an initiative to produce an oath for business leaders that would serve as a guide when facing difficult trade-offs and paradoxes. During the course of 2009 the YGL Global Business Oath Initiative has drafted a set of principles and has been testing the content and implementation with leaders from all sectors and regions of the world.
The Forum of Young Global Leaders is an initiative of the World Economic Forum, self-described as “a unique, multistakeholder community of exceptional young leaders who share a commitment to shaping the global future”. In addition to the contributions of many YGL members (yours truly included, for full disclosure), the initiative has been supported by Profs. Rakesh and Nohria of the Harvard Business School.
With at least two such oaths in place so far (the Thunderbird Oath and the MBA Oath) with some degree of overlap in content but also some differences, the goal of the Global Business Oath is to provide an international standard that will cover the most critical areas of value creation and potential social harm associated with management as a profession and that could be used as a reference by any interested organizations.
I reproduce here the latest draft of the Global Business Oath with the hope of receiving as much feedback as possible before producing a final text.
Global Business Oath
As a business leader I recognize that
- The enterprise I lead must serve the greater good by bringing together people and resources to create value that no single individual can create alone,
- My decisions can have far-reaching consequences that affect the wellbeing of individuals inside and outside my enterprise, today and tomorrow,
- As I reconcile the interests of different constituencies, I will face choices that are not easy for me and others,
So I promise that
- I will manage my enterprise diligently and in good faith and will not let personal considerations and compensation supersede the long-term interest of my enterprise and society at large,
- I will understand and uphold, both in letter and spirit, the laws and contracts governing my own conduct and that of my enterprise,
- I will respect and protect the human rights and dignity of all people who are affected by my enterprise and will oppose all forms of discrimination and exploitation,
- I will respect and protect the right of future generations to enjoy a clean and resourceful planet,
- I will not engage in nor tolerate bribery or any other form of corruption,
- I will represent the performance and risks of my enterprise accurately and honestly to each of the constituencies that are affected by it,
- I will actively engage in efforts to finding solutions to critical social and environmental issues that are central to my enterprise, and
- I will invest in my own professional development as well as the development of other managers under my supervision
In exercising my professional duties according to these principles I recognize that my behavior must set an example of integrity and responsible conduct.
This pledge I make freely and upon my honor.