The old adage, ‘a principle is not a principle until it costs you something’, has never been more relevant. So, what happens when the ‘right’ decision hits the bottom line or impacts a business? It’s a question CEOs are increasingly having to answer, writes Benjamin Chiou in Future CEO 2019, a special report from The Sunday Times.

When it comes to social injustice, business leaders can no longer watch from the sidelines. At a time of such geopolitical volatility and social unrest, there is an expectation to take action, not only from their employees, but their customers, investors and wider society.

Dr Simon Hayward, CEO of leadership consultancy Cirrus and honorary professor at Alliance Manchester Business School, says authenticity and values are all a part of being a business leader in today’s world, and society now demands employers to have a “higher code of ethics than simple commercial self-interest”.

He says: “In recent years we have witnessed a breakdown of trust in organisations following many high-profile cases of mis-selling, mis-reporting and corruption. In some cases, the consequences have run into billions of pounds in damages and stock market value write-downs. Corporate amorality is a costly business.”

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