ethics resource

An Ethics Resource at Your Fingertips: Meet BERC

A recent Salesforce survey confirmed what consumers inherently know: Ethics is good for business. Now, thanks to a new website from the Center for Ethics in Practice in the Opus College of Business, small to midsize businesses can rest easier knowing that ethics and compliance resources are at their fingertips. The website, Business Ethics Resource Center, is at U.S. Bank is the founding sponsor.

Business Ethics Resource Center includes ethics and compliance resources from nationally and internationally recognized ethics and compliance centers, consortia and organizations, experts and thought leaders, qualified academics and practitioners, and industry groups.

katie lawler

Katie Lawler, U.S. Bank Senior Vice President and Global Chief Ethics Officer

"U.S. Bank knows the success of small and midsize businesses is a critical driver of local and national economic growth, and we know that ethics is good for business," said Katie Lawler, U.S. Bank senior vice president and global chief ethics officer. "By sponsoring the Business Ethics Resource Center, U.S. Bank is helping the University of St. Thomas give business owners more opportunities for success. When businesses intentionally prioritize ethical decision-making and a culture of integrity, better results follow."

Consider some of the statistics from the Salesforce survey about the importance of ethics to business:

  • Eighty percent of customers are more loyal to companies with good ethics.
  • Seventy-seven percent of respondents say increased awareness of corporate values, ethics and business practices is changing their expectations as customers.
  • Seventy-three percent of customers say trust in companies matters more than it did a year ago.

"Business Ethics Resource Center is targeted to people who don't have the expertise, resources or infrastructure to make their business more ethical ... people who want to, but don't know how," said Dawn Elm, PhD , executive director of the Center for Ethics in Practice and the David A. and Barbara Koch Distinguished Professor of Business Ethics and Leadership in Opus College of Business. "The website is designed to be practical. It's designed to be a website that you can visit and use. ... We're trying to make it as accessible as we can for people who aren't ethics or compliance experts."

The content of the site is built around four pillars of building and promoting ethical business and compliance

Dawn Elm

Dawn Elm, PhD, Executive Director of Center for Ethics in Practice and David A. & Barbara Koch Distinguished Professor of Business Ethics and Leadership in Opus College of Business

practices: Principled Leadership, Ethical Culture and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Ethical Decision-Making and Compliance. Each pillar has relevant practical information regarding how to accomplish ethics and compliance goals. Various resources for users include articles, videos and examples; the ability to ask questions and submit comments; and tool kits offering solutions to these types of challenges. Ethics-related Star Tribune Outside Consultant columns, in which Opus College of Business faculty answer questions from entrepreneurs, also are available on the website.

"The Center for Ethics in Practice is widely respected for its leadership in developing ethical business leaders and cultures," said Lawler. "U.S. Bank applauds the Center and the University of St. Thomas for extending that leadership with the Business Ethics Resource Center."

The website will be evolving over time.

"We want to keep up with the issues that people are dealing with and changes in regulations or compliance laws," said Elm. "We need to make sure that we have up-to-date information for the people visiting the site."

In addition, Elm sees the website becoming more interactive. With the U.S. Small Business Administration noting that small businesses generate 44% of U.S. economic activity, the Business Ethics Resource Center could indeed make a significant ethics and compliance impact.