“Can we, as corporate and organisational leaders, be activists to stand against the influences of state capture and corruption to ensure that South Africa grows in such a way as to lift our people out of poverty and give all real opportunities?” asks dean and director Jon Foster-Pedley.

The role of ethical and moral leadership in Africa #CorporateActivism

The principles of good corporate governance have been given much greater definition in recent years. Tighter regulations and clear guidelines and reporting practices, such as King IV, have left businesses with very understandable frameworks to interpret the work of their boards and their leadership.

This is, without doubt, a good thing.

The challenge for the future is that these formalised interpretations don’t become the whole thing. Strong reporting frameworks can’t come at the expense of a wider commitment to integrity. And as South Africa looks to the corporate sector to help it recover from years of corruption and waste, it’s especially important to remember an old adage. Sometimes, what looks like legitimate behaviour could be illegal, and what looks illegitimate could be absolutely within the bounds of the law.

How do business leaders balance the short term and long term interests of their shareholders against the moral imperative. Shouldn’t business be about profit, not scruples?

It’s a topic which we at Henley feel strongly about, and goes to the heart of our #CorporateActivism campaign. We talk about it as often as we can. We’re passionate that business leaders have a role to play in helping to keep society as a whole on the straight and narrow.