Leadership & Management

Business Ethics –A Prerequisite For Sustainable Business

Some business consultants in the United Kingdom have advised entrepreneurs to develop professional ethics in business in order to have a successful and sustainable enterprise, FinIntell reports.

Speaking at a UK-Africa Trade and Investment Conference in London recently, organised by the African Business Chamber, Eugene Nizeyimana, the Chief Executive of the organisation, said that for a business to be sustained, an enabling environment for moral value development must be created.

Mr Nizeyimana, an entrepreneur and management consultant, said that ethical leadership in an organisation is the primary responsibility of the individual who created the business, bearing most of the risks and enjoying most of the rewards. “Living these principles on a daily basis will then help foster the message of value to staff and customers,” he added.

Various speakers at the conference agreed that many companies propound ethical values but do not stick to them in practice and in day-to-day relationships between staff, customers and suppliers.

Do Business Right

Rashida Abdulai, a legal consultant and founder of the Africa-focused legal platform, Strand Sahara, encouraged entrepreneurs at the event to regularly develop their business skills and also seek professional legal advice on the best business practice.

Ms. Abdulai, credited for the quote, “The world needs more lawyerpreneurs and there has never been a better time to become one,” started Strand Sahara company after recognising a legal gap between African businesses in search of investment and the investors and multinationals in search of investment-ready African businesses to invest in.

Her organisation uses legal technology to address the further challenge of providing effective, valuable legal services fit for the digital age. By creating systems that can provide legal solutions across the internet, Strand Sahara allows African businesses to tap into the legal expertise and services needed to get investment ready in a more convenient, transparent and less costly manner.

Trade and Investment Relations

The organiser of the conference said that the event was put together to boost trade and investment relations, encourage foreign direct investment flows, increase commercial activities and innovation, as well as to support internationalisation and supply chain. “The conference brought together leading business leaders, government officials, investors, entrepreneurs, diasporas, experts, policymakers, academia and professionals from across the World to deliberate and showcase economic growth opportunities in Africa for both local, regional and international businesses and investors,” it added.

The African Business Chamber is a UK business organisation representing African owned businesses and entrepreneurs in the UK. It prides itself as “the collective voice of African businesses in the UK,” adding that, “Our aspiration is to be the voice and advocate for the African business communities across United Kingdom, by representing their views, interests and priorities to government and in the media.”

The Chamber also organises events and runs a number of campaigns aimed at “empowering and supporting the organisation, its members and the business community around the United Kingdom to accelerate growth, enhance productivity, access new opportunities, showcase products and solutions, and highlight the needs of African businesses.”

Lessons from the UK

A foreign delegate at the conference, Sefunmi Nicholas, who owns a plastic production company in Nigeria, told FinIntell that Nigerian corporate world needs to learn business ethics from developed nations because Nigeria as a country tolerates corruption. “We live in an environment that encourages their leaders to be corrupt,” Mr. Nicholas said.  

He said that business owners need to set examples of best business practice from the top that will help their organisations to develop and be sustained. He said a consistent practice and enforcement of codes of conduct is needed for business sustainability in Nigeria. “The biggest thing in Nigeria about ethical value revolves around contract seeking; when people use all means to get what they want. But walking away from whatever will compromise your ethical values is the decent way of living that Nigerian businesses must learn,” Mr Nicholas said.

On the critical issue of hiring the right staff, he noted that it is difficult to get the right people from an environment like Nigeria that has lost values but it is not impossible to get it. “Cooperations must tackle culture and environment challenges as ethical value starts from the point of hiring and firing of staff,” he said.

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