MINNEAPOLIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Small businesses are a key driver of a vibrant U.S. economy, employing nearly half of the U.S. workforce, generating 44% of U.S. economic activity and producing 16 times more patents per employee than large firms. But many lack the resources they need to prevent or recover from business damage caused by unethical behavior.
That’s about to change as the Center for Ethics in Practice at the University of St. Thomas launches the Business Ethics Resource Center (BERC). The new website offers free practical tools and information tailored to help businesses develop resilient and ethical organizations.
U.S. Bank, named one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies by the Ethisphere Institute in 2019, is the founding sponsor of the BERC.
The BERC website provides resources from the Center for Ethics in Practice at the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business, which has helped develop ethical business leaders and cultures for more than 40 years.
The site specifically addresses the needs of small to midsize businesses, providing tools and information to help them develop ethical cultures, codes of conduct and internal controls that promote ethical practices.
In addition to benefiting from timely and professional ethics resources and guides, visitors can access other information sources to learn how to make ethics central to business. The site also helps businesses implement employee training programs, which can reduce the instances of unethical behavior through detection and prevention.
“A growing body of research shows that good ethical practices grow stronger businesses,” said Katie Lawler, senior vice president and global chief ethics officer, U.S. Bank. Lawler also serves on the advisory board of the Center for Ethics in Practice.
“By sponsoring the Business Ethics Resource Center, we’re helping the University of St. Thomas give business owners the resources to prioritize ethical decision-making and intentionally build a culture of integrity, reinforcing their success,” said Lawler.
Research shows a positive association between an organization’s ethical reputation and its ability to attract customers, partners, investors and employees – and even to command higher prices in the marketplace. Findings from a Mintel report showed that 56% of Americans stop buying from brands they believe are unethical.
According to an Ethisphere study, stock performance of the 2018 World’s Most Ethical Companies outperformed the market index for other U.S. large cap companies by 4.8% over three years. And a 2019 Salesforce survey showed 80% of customers are more loyal to companies with good ethics.
In a competitive landscape and tight labor market, ethical businesses may even be elevated to the ranks of most-admired businesses, earning the loyalty of a new generation of customers – as well as millennial employees, who want to work for socially responsible employers.
“Smaller organizations are not just big businesses in miniature – they have distinct entrepreneurial cultures, operate with less outside oversight – and give employees more decision-making authority,” said Dawn R. Elm, Ph.D., executive director, Center for Ethics in Practice.
Elm is the David A. and Barbara Koch Distinguished Professor of Business Ethics and Leadership at the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business. She notes that the fallout from poor ethical decisions is often felt more directly and deeply by everyone in smaller businesses.
“Organizations need continual emphasis and processes to keep ethics alive for their stakeholders,” said Elm. “BERC provides real-world tools, grounded in actual business reality and is ready to use. They’re essential guardrails that can keep a small business on track with their performance goals.”
About Opus College of Business
Transformation is more than just an ideal at the Opus College of Business. It's a call to action. Transformative learning, transformative teaching, transformative leadership and a transformative experience are all hallmarks of this “Top 100” business school. Through its range of graduate, undergraduate and continuing education business programs, the Opus College of Business seeks to transform its students’ lives and careers while transforming the landscape of the business community. Learn more about degree offerings at business.stthomas.edu.
About Center for Ethics in Practice
The Opus College of Business Center for Ethics in Practice has been helping develop ethical business leaders and cultures for more than 40 years. The Center facilitates conversations and learning about practical ethics to develop innovative and successful tools for upstanding business success. The Center strives to promote the common good through facilitating a successful business community that values doing business the right way.
The Center accomplishes this mission through dialogues, programs and events to facilitate practical learning and actionable scholarly research about professional responsibility and ethics.
About U.S. Bank
U.S. Bancorp (NYSE: USB), with 74,000 employees and $476 billion in assets as of March 31, 2019, is the parent company of U.S. Bank, the fifth-largest commercial bank in the United States. The Minneapolis-based bank blends its relationship teams, branches and ATM network with mobile and online tools that allow customers to bank how, when and where they prefer. U.S. Bank is committed to serving its millions of retail, business, wealth management, payment, commercial and corporate, and investment services customers across the country and around the world as a trusted financial partner, a commitment recognized by the Ethisphere Institute naming the bank a 2019 World’s Most Ethical Company. Visit U.S. Bank at usbank.com or follow on social media to stay up to date with company news.