From conserving water and expanding solar power to incorporating environmental and social decision-making into investment decisions, Loyola Marymount University’s commitment to ethical leadership, sustainability and social responsibility is well documented.
And this fall, LMU’s College of Business Administration will launch the Institute for Business Ethics and Sustainability (IBES) – further bolstering the university’s dedication to these guiding principles.
“This institute was founded to advance student learning, academic research and stakeholder engagement in ethics and sustainability for the 21st century organization,” said Jeff Thies, director of IBES and an assistant professor of management. “Because of its impact and power, business has a vital role to serve and advance human flourishing.”
Over the years, LMU and the College of Business Administration have achieved a critical mass of scholars, activities and educational programs centered on ethics, sustainability and values. This new institute exemplifies how the Jesuit mission of academic excellence, service, leadership and caring for the whole person continues to be incorporated into LMU’s business programs.
IBES will bring business leaders, scholars and community members together to enhance student learning, business success and community partnership. The institute creates a center of excellence by building upon the successes of existing centers (Center for Accounting Ethics, Governance, and the Public Interest and Center for Ethics and Business) – and adding new programs and initiatives into a combined and coordinated effort to study and affect important issues facing our society.
The institute serves as a place to share ideas, host activities and events, and educate LMU and the general public on ethical and sustainable business practices. It seeks to create strong links between the College of Business Administration and other like-minded centers at LMU, other universities and the broader business community.
“The Institute for Business Ethics and Sustainability will be a game changer for LMU,” said Dennis Draper, dean of LMU’s College of Business Administration. “Our college is in a unique position to continue to build upon industry connections in Silicon Beach, expand our business ethics and sustainability curriculum, and educate students, faculty, alumni and the local community on the latest developments in these three key areas of study.”
Several undergraduate and graduate courses related to business ethics and sustainability are already in place in the College of Business Administration. With the help of advisory committees, the institute will continue to identify and develop courses that will educate and shape the perspectives of our students as they prepare to enter the workforce.
The institute also features several signature events to advance student engagement and educate the greater community in the study of ethics and sustainability. One event is the Dreier Chair in Accounting Ethics Distinguished Speaker Series, which brings prominent individuals to campus each semester to speak about topics related to accounting ethics, governance, and the public interest. In September, Steven Burdick, executive vice president and CFO of Tetra Tech, spoke on the timely topic of “Environmental, Social and Governance Challenges and Opportunities.”
Another event is the International Business Ethics Case Competition (IBECC), in which student teams from all over the world tackle some of the most pressing ethical issues in global business today. IBECC culminates months of research and discussion about the legal, financial and ethical dimensions of a business ethics problem. During the competition, students propose a solution that must work on all three counts – and meet the satisfaction of a panel of business executive and faculty judges. LMU hosts its own competition to select an undergraduate and graduate team for the international competition.
“Students really benefit from this experience of applying ethical analysis to important business issues and presenting their conclusions before a business audience,” said Thies.
IBECC is the nation’s oldest and most prestigious event of its kind. It was founded by Thomas White, LMU’s Hilton Chair of Business Ethics, who believes that an ethics event should do more than just talk about making the world a better place. The event is sponsored by LMU’s Institute for Business Ethics and Sustainability, the Opus College of Business at the University of St. Thomas (Minnesota), the W. Michael Hoffman Center for Business Ethics at Bentley University (Massachusetts) and the Ethics and Compliance Initiative.
Looking ahead, IBES has other exciting new initiatives in the planning stage such as launching additional speaker series, creating an annual Ethics and Sustainability Symposium, expanding business leader and scholar advisory networks, and implementing additional research initiatives and student engagement programs through industry and community partnerships.