Over the last year concerns about penalties against directors and senior officers personally in respect of corporate killing and environmental liabilities have made this message easier to convey. However, the absence of proposals on the former in the Queen’s Speech in November (and thus their effective consignment to the next Parliament) may, quite wrongly, have quieted these worries.
To some extent these examples for demonstrating the need for risk management tend to bolster the negative image of the topic. Where companies have embraced effective programmes, someone has usually worked the alchemy of creating a positive desire to be better.
It is a reasonable proposition that most, if not all, managers of businesses would like to run their company in a way that causes the least possible harm to the smallest possible number. The difficulty lies in persuading them that acting on their personal scruples will not necessarily reduce profits. The most transparent way to do this would be to track the company’s share price but, with so many other influences on the Stock Market and share prices, this is not always possible. There is, however, at least one FTSE company which has suffered a substantial fall in value recently, apparently attributable to the sale of its holding by an investor on ethical grounds.
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