This is a collection of CBERN and its network members publications. The Canadian Business Ethics Research Network (CBERN) aims to promote knowledge-sharing and partnerships within the field of business ethics and across private, governmental, voluntary and academic sectors. CBERN also aims to support work from inception to dissemination, from graduate student research and fellowship opportunities to promoting the projects of established professionals.

Recent Submissions

  • Investing for Impact

    Harji, Karim; Hebb, Tessa (Carleton Centre for Community Innovation, 2010-05-15)
    This paper argues that several factors have contributed to the lack of development of social finance in Canada, and in particular the intermediaries that connect the demand and supply aspects of this market. Social investors are not able to calibrate risk and opportunity adequately, contributing to the paucity in the range of financial instruments and intentional flow of finance to this sector. In essence there is an information asymmetry problem in the social capital market that constricts the supply of capital. A supply-side analysis of social finance is a necessary complement to demand-side analysis if deliberate investment to realize social, environmental, and financial returns is to occur. Taken even further, the supply-side perspective could in fact catalyze new instruments for raising capital with which to address society's most pressing issues. The article draws on a series of semi-structured interviews with leading financial and social finance experts in Canada.
  • Viewing the World through Risk-Coloured Glasses

    Wong, Robert (EthicsCentre CA, 2013-06-12)
    "After managing a few unforeseen crises, Toronto Hydro reigned in business risks through the formalized adoption of Enterprise Risk Management (ERM). Here’s how we developed our ERM program from infancy to what it is today – an industry-leading governance structure that permeates our corporate culture."
  • Addressing Ethical and Moral Issues in Health Technology Assessment

    Assasi, Nazila (EthicsCentre CA, 2013-10)
    "Nazila Assasi was awarded the Ethics Centre's 2011 scholarship in applied business ethics for her project Addressing Ethical and Moral Issues in Health Technology Assessment. The project aimed to develop a practical framework for integrating ethics into the health technology assessment process."
  • Management Ethics [Fall / Winter 2013]

    Dirker, Hentie; Klotz, James M.; Comeau, Janet; Wong, Robert (EthicsCentre CA, 2013)
    "In this issue: - Chair’s Report; Why "Tone at the Top" can be Off-Key. Some Psychology behind effective Compliance Programs; Giving Risk an Attitude; Case Competition for the Simon Fish Case Award; New Corporate Members; Viewing the World through Risk-Coloured Glasses; Board of Directors; Calendar of Events"
  • The Ethics of Cost Benefit Analysis

    Vingoe, D. Grant (EthicsCentre CA, 2013-11-05)
    "Two recent books have taken very different approaches to the influence of market economics on government and society. Simpler: The Future of Government by Cass Sunstein, the former Administrator of the Obama Administration’s White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, (the U.S. “Regulatory Czar”), analyzes how regulatory goals can be achieved through the right ‘choice architecture’, through better designed “nudges” to promote individual and corporate behaviour to further social goals. What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets by Michael Sandel, a Professor in the Harvard University School of Government, critiques how market economics has increasingly dominated social relations, with market induced ‘bribery’ and ‘corruption’ replacing behaviors rooted in moral values. Bribery has the usual meaning of paying off someone to engage in sought-after behaviors."
  • Earth Observation to Sustain Interaction between Mining Industry, Regulatory Bodies and Local Stakeholders – The Eo-Miners Trialogue

    Hejny, Horst (Canadian Institute for Mining, Metallurgy, and Petroleum (CIM), 2013-08)
    "Given the current status of political discussion in Europe about raw materials issues, the sustainable development of the extractive industry and the reduction of its environmental and societal footprint are among the key topics in this discussion. In this context, the European Commission approved the EO-MINERS project (Earth Observation for Monitoring and Observing Environmental and Societal Impacts of Mineral Resources Exploration and Exploitation). The overall aim of EO-MINERS is to bring into play EO-based methods and tools to facilitate and improve interaction between the mineral extractive industry, authorities, and the society in view of its sustainable development while improving its societal acceptability. Developing generic, standardised and reliable EO-based products to monitor the environmental and societal footprint of mining projects is the way chosen by EO-MINERS to improve this interaction, along with the organisation of tripartite meetings gathering all relevant stakeholders. The project uses existing EO knowledge and carries out new developments on three demonstration sites (Sokolov lignite mining area, Czech Republic, Witbank coal field, South Africa, Makmal gold mine, Kyrgyzstan) to further evaluate and demonstrate the capabilities of integrated EObased methods and tools in monitoring the environmental and societal footprints of the extractive industry during all phases of a mining project, from the exploration to the exploitation and closure stages. It contributes providing reliable and objective information about affected ecosystems, populations and societies, to serve as a basis for a sound “trialogue” between corporate stakeholders, governmental organisations and societal stakeholders. The project already developed a set of consolidated indicators based upon previous knowledge about mining-related issues along with interviews of national, regional, and local stakeholders. These indicators reflect known environmental and societal issues at mining sites as well as the interest of various relevant stakeholder groups. The process described in the EO-MINERS project – policy assessment > indicator identification > choice of suitable EO tools able to serve monitoring task > monitoring by EO tools > making available objective information for fair dialogue among stakeholders – is generally applicable to all stages of a mining project. The key to success will be the right choice of indicators addressing the problem and subsequently the right choice of suitable EO tools and finally the willingness of all stakeholders to find a common solution. To this end, the EO-MINERS project organises site-specific “trialogue” workshops at each demonstrations site, which aim to provide relevant information in adequate quality to the stakeholders as common ground for discussions. Local stakeholders, including mining companies, regulatory bodies, and community representatives are invited to participate in these workshops where the relevance of the developed EO-based products to environmental and societal impact assessment will be discussed. The presentation will discuss results obtained during these trialogue workshops, as well as the success and difficulties and reluctances encountered. The project will further indicate ways and means how the EO products and other project results may be used for monitoring purposes in all phases of a mine."
  • Best Practices in Sustainability Reporting in the Global Mining Industry

    Gillam, Andrew (Canadian Institute for Mining, Metallurgy, and Petroleum (CIM), 2013-08)
    "Outline of Presentation. AMEC overview; Benchmarked companies; GRI 3.1 Guidelines; Best practice examples: Report content and boundary, Strategy and profile, Environmental, Social."
  • Debtor Nation: Review

    Kudeba, Nicolas (EthicsCentre CA, 2013-01-28)
    "Written by historian and Harvard alumnus Louis Hyman, this 2011 book is actually a reworking of his award-winning Ph.D. dissertation Debtor Nation: How Consumer Credit Built Postwar America, and it shows; whether in tone, vocabulary or structure, Debtor Nation is, in every sense of the word, academic. Content-wise, Debtor Nation is one of the most informative, detailed, and timely accounts of American debt history to date. What is perhaps most interesting is how the author displays America’s changing attitudes towards debt and the stark impact of these attitudes on American society and its economy. Though Debtor Nation does not incorporate any prolonged personal narrative, it does, through numerous quotes and anecdotes, capture the sentiment of the everyman as it evolved over the years. The author’s main intent is to show how the development of American debt, from 1917 to today, has contributed to the current state of the global economy."
  • Giving Risk an Attitude

    Comeau, Janet (EthicsCentre CA, 2013-03-28)
    "When routine compliance is not enough - How a grass-roots task force raised risk awareness and understanding at The Canadian Depository for Securities."
  • Resource Developments on Indigenous Lands in Australia: The James Price Point Gas Precinct

    Stephenson, Margaret Anne; Hunter, Tina (Canadian Institute for Mining, Metallurgy, and Petroleum (CIM), 2013-08)
    "Today, in Australia, it is increasingly common to see agreements between Indigenous peoples and resource companies being achieved generally as Indigenous Land Use Agreements or agreements pursuant to the ‘right to negotiation’ process under the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth). Despite progress in this area, resource development on Indigenous lands is not without its challenges for both the resource proponents and the Indigenous parties. History demonstrates that resource development on Indigenous lands has produced struggles between the traditional owners of the land and the resource proponents. In Australia their relationship is generally defined by issues of access to land and assuring continued access to the land for the life of the project. In this context, divisions in Indigenous communities often emerge. The proposed resource project can have the effect of polarising members of an Indigenous community. It may be regarded by some traditional land owners as an advantageous opportunity for the community and by others as a hazard to country and culture. The process of agreement making has proved not only a test for the Indigenous community but also for the resource proponent. In this paper we undertake a contemporary case study of a proposed Australian resource related-development project on Indigenous lands. This project involved a multi-billion gas hub precinct proposed at James Price Point in the Kimberley region in Western Australia. The James Price Point proposal produced a litany of challenges for all parties. The traditional owners faced fundamental social and human rights issues, including a minority opposition to the project, the project's potential cultural heritage impact, the threat of compulsory acquisition of their native title interest by a State government due to an initial failure to settle an agreement, a fracture of their unsettled land claim and a minority rejection of the agreement ultimately reached. Additionally, the ‘green’ lobby also rejected the proposed gas hub on environmental grounds bringing the green lobby into direct conflict with both the traditional owners in favour of the project and the resource proponent. Ultimately, Woodside announced its decision not to proceed with the proposed gas precinct at James Price Point, in April 2013. In this paper we analyse the complexity of the James Price Point gas hub negotiations with the traditional owners which resulted in an Agreement that promised to deliver substantial benefits for the Indigenous communities. We question why such a favourable and beneficial agreement for the Indigenous community also produced the plethora of challenges and concerns and we consider how future negotiation processes could be better structured to avoid the difficulties that have confronted Indigenous land owners and resource proponents alike."
  • Education Is the Stumbling Block for the Mines of the Future

    Yameogo, Theophile; Suarez, Jose J. (Canadian Institute for Mining, Metallurgy, and Petroleum (CIM), 2013-08)
    "Many ideas, tools, technologies, and methodologies are believed to have staked their claims on the future of mining. For example, automation is strongly positioned as the platform within which mining will be practiced. A subset of automation, intelligent mining, will add some smart interactions between machines, technologies, the rock and the environment. The future also calls for an improved approach to sustainability and corporate social responsibility. Mines of the future are dreamed of to be more ethical, and more balanced. They will boast optimized designs, integrated value and supply chains, produce less waste, recycle and reuse, and will require less energy to operate. Then, what about the people that will operate this optimized ecosystem? How is the education system teaching the operators of the mines of the future? What kind of a future should mining education foresee to prepare the workers appropriately? In recent years, the shortage of skilled labor for mines around the world has created a tough competition to attract, retain and train the very people without whom mining will cease to exist. In Australia, Canada and the United States in particular, the war for talents that resulted in higher-than-usual labor costs. Such costs have dented the unit costs of many mining businesses. Concomitantly, mining contractors’ and consultants’ prices have increased to reflect the escalation of labor costs across the value chain. From labourers to engineers, from juniors to seasoned professionals, the increase in compensation is unprecedented. Yet, the shortage is still hurting the industry, and the high calibre candidates continue to be rare gems. The industry has been implementing aggressive solutions that include the increased hiring of skilled immigrants, the training and recruitment of minorities, and the retaining of near-retirement experienced employees. Public relation campaigns are about the benefits of embracing careers in mining are also common. The CIM has also devoted a “M4S” section to its pan-Canada meetings to educate the public, especially the youth, about the importance of the mining industry for Canada. More, mining associations and universities are enticing students’ enrolment through scholarships and financial support. Still, the balance between quantity and quality of workers can be discussed. This paper intends to discuss the present of mining education as an essential part of the future of mining. The author brushes the picture of the education of miners, technicians, and engineers, against the backdrop of the technology-advanced mines of the future."
  • The Social Acceptability Process of the Canadian Malartic Mine

    Angers, Philippe; Gendron, Corinne; Friser, Alice (Canadian Institute for Mining, Metallurgy, and Petroleum (CIM), 2013-08)
    "This article analyzes the social acceptability process of a mining project located in an existing city. It will explore how the principles of sustainable development have been integrated in the project of the Canadian Malartic open pit mine held by the Osisko Mining Corporation, and the corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives proposed to strengthen the social acceptability of the project. This mine is located on the ancient south quarter of Malartic and has required the displacement of hundred of houses and five institutions. The location and the inherent social impacts generated by the relocation of the citizens of the south quarter makes this case particularly interesting to understand social dynamics in an era of environmental consciousness. These major constraints of the mine generate high expectations within the urban population with regard to the social and economic benefits it will receive from the project. In a context where society demands higher CSR from the corporation, Osisko is closely followed regarding their actions toward the sustainable development principles to see if they respect the environment and the desires of the community. From the beginning, the company had to be a model of sustainable development in various aspects reflected by the manifold interest of the population. To understand the endeavor made by the company to fulfill the demand of CSR, we will analyze how the company understood sustainable development principles and what CSR initiatives Osisko put forward. We will explore the involvement of the company in various social aspects like employment, employee satisfaction, and the level of commitment to non-discrimination policy in employment, notably with the native populations. We will also take a closer look at the relationship built by the company with the community and the level of commitment with the various stakeholders of the community. In this way, we will be able to seize the level of involvement of the company in the fulfillment of the principles of sustainable development toward a higher CSR, and to specify the trajectory adopted to build social acceptance. "
  • Women and the Workplace: Challenging Gender Biases

    da Costa Silva, Gabriela (Canadian Institute for Mining, Metallurgy, and Petroleum (CIM), 2013-08)
    "Fact: We are all biased. That is everyone, without exception. That means you, and that means me. Unless we explore the nature of relationships, perceptions and prejudices we will never make sufficient progress to create truly diverse and inclusive organisations. Bias Awareness can: challenge our behaviours and our thought patterns; cause us to ask ourselves: why do we choose to affiliate with some people and not others?; help us consider: how do our attitudes drive our behaviours?; build discussions around why prejudice exists and how it manifests itself in workplace practices."
  • Community Capacity Building and a Social License to Operate in the Mining Industry

    Buitrago, Isabel (Canadian Institute for Mining, Metallurgy, and Petroleum (CIM), 2013-08)
    "This paper aims at increasing our understanding about existing community capacity-building approaches and their implications for obtaining a social license to operate in the mining industry. The notion of ‘capacity building’ is gaining increasing currency in the mining sector in developing countries due to rapid rise in globalisation of the mining operations. Building a community’s capacity to understand and effectively respond to these transformations is vital for obtaining a social license to operate, as it promotes sustainable and locally relevant development. Accountability mechanisms such as global norms and international standards increasingly point to the need to build capacity among stakeholders but particularly among local communities adjacent to mining operations. International frameworks and mining companies have embraced the notion of community capacity-building as a driver to assist corporate social and operational performance. However, this narrow understanding of capacity-building through the prism of corporate social responsibility and ‘best practices’ is preventing the industry from impacting communities meaningfully and forging sustainable communities in the regions where it operates. The idea of social license to operate is being widely embedded across multiple industry sectors, as a social and economic reward from mining companies to compensate communities for natural resource extraction and gain social acceptance. Although both concepts are widely recognised in the minerals industry, insufficient attention has been paid to the implications of applying a top-down or a bottom-up capacity-building approach for obtaining a social license to operate, or indeed how these two concepts are linked and applied in practice. At times, communities lack the necessary capacities in the form of education and skills to deal with mining-led livelihood transformations. This is preventing both, mining companies and communities from forging sustainable livelihoods and responding to mining-led livelihood transformations, a situation that is creating discontent among communities and reducing the possibilities of obtaining and renewing a social license to operate for the industry. Based on review of current scholarly debates, accountability mechanisms in the mining industry and fieldwork findings in Colombia, this paper will contribute to understanding of the implications of exiting community capacity-building approaches for ensuring a social license to operate."
  • Evolving Standards and Expectations for Responsible Mining, a Civil Society Perspective

    Hart, Ramsey; Coumans, Catherine (Canadian Institute for Mining, Metallurgy, and Petroleum (CIM), 2013-08)
    "MiningWatch Canada is the only national independent civil society organization with an exclusive focus on mining in Canada and Canadian mining companies operations internationally. In 2005, MiningWatch Canada collaborated with other NGOs to develop the Framework for Responsible Mining: A Guide to Evolving Standards. The project was the result of a perceived need by NGOs and retailers, particularly from the jewellery sector, for a framework that would set out environmental, social, and governance standards for the minerals sector "providing recommendations for retailers and others seeking to source or invest responsibly, as well as regulate and encourage responsible mining practices". This paper is a reflection on the Framework that examines key areas of concern and notes where the industry norms and expectations of civil society have evolved. The paper focuses on developments in social issues related to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, new initiatives associated with financial transparency, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The environmental components of the Framework that are revisited are waste management, biodiversity, energy and climate change, environmental assessment, mine closure, mercury and seabed mining."
  • Corporate Stakeholder Effects on International Law Norms of Consultation with Indigenous Communities

    Newman, Dwight (Canadian Institute for Mining, Metallurgy, and Petroleum (CIM), 2013-08)
    "This paper discusses the author’s work identifying international law norms of consultation with indigenous communities and poses a potentially counterintuitive argument that corporate stakeholders’ interactions with indigenous communities may have effects on the content of those norms. The claim is counterintuitive because the international law of pertinence is customary international law, which arises from consistent state practice and opinio juris (a belief by states that they are acting in a way they are legally bound to do so). Customary international law traditionally has no reference to corporate conduct per se. The paper first surveys several sources on developing international law on consultation obligations. Then it references the impact these norms can have on corporate stakeholders in industries like mining. Then, it poses an argument as to an economic ratcheting effect that can occur through various agreements between corporate stakeholders and indigenous communities that then feeds through into international law via several mechanisms. The consequences for mining companies are diverse and include the possibility that conduct by one company can have longer-term implications for the obligations of other companies and, indeed, of states. The effects will differ in the context of different competitive environments and may actually have effects on the economics of different competitive models."
  • The Strategic Risk Assessment and Management of Indigenous Issues in the Extractive Sector

    Ramji, Karim (Canadian Institute for Mining, Metallurgy, and Petroleum (CIM), 2013-08)
    "The extractive sector today faces growing social, legal and political risks (SLPs) from so many different stakeholders including national and local governments, name and shame groups, civil society and environmental groups, and the “Occupy” movement. Beyond these stakeholders, there are the indigenous peoples who have growing legal, social, political and economic influence which can often determine the outcome of the Project. The development curve in the extractive sector from initial exploration to mine start-up has become longer, steeper and more risky and expensive as these SLPs have grown in scope and complexity. Even if a project is permitted or starts commercial production, its ongoing development and operations are also facing these SLPs. The continuous assessment of these SLPs and the strategy to mitigate for them has now become critical for every project in the extractive sector. A project will only be successful if it is able to obtain the legal permits to operate, then withstand any judicial reviews, and then also to be able to gain and maintain the Social License to Operate (SLO). Stakeholder identification, management and engagement are key risk-mitigation tools. This paper focuses on the growing influence that indigenous peoples are now enjoying and the impacts on the extractive sector. Indigenous peoples are a unique stakeholder group because their legal rights and interests to lands and resources, their aboriginal title and rights, are gaining more recognition. When indigenous peoples form alliances with other stakeholders, this simply adds to their growing momentum and leverage, and this can become a daunting challenge for the extractive sector. More due diligence is required by companies to understand and assess the challenges posed by operating in areas claimed by indigenous peoples. There is a real need for mining companies to develop an effective indigenous engagement strategy to address these challenges in order to successfully convert risks into opportunities. Early identification and engagement with the indigenous peoples is required and the goal should be to conclude an Impact Benefits Agreement (IBA) with the affected indigenous peoples. The real objective must be to develop a real and transparent relationship between the company and the indigenous peoples so as to gain and maintain the SLO."
  • Management Ethics [Spring 2013]

    Dessaulles, Georges; Dimma, William A.; McIsaac, Susan; Helwig, Maggie (EthicsCentre CA, 2013)
    "In this issue: - Chair's Report; - Income Inequality and Economic Disparity; - Building a Stronger City – for us all; - Christ, Corporate Ethics and Occupy"
  • Research Snapshots

    "Research Snapshots are summaries of research written in non-specialist language that highlight the potential impacts of the research and create opportunities for engagement and participation by those working outside university settings through a four-stage engagement cycle. The cycle aims to engage non-researchers in developing research and to build the capacity of non-academics to engage with researchers over the long term on complex problems in business and economic ethics that cannot be addressed by people in any one sector."
  • EPAC/APEC Magazine

    Ethics Practitioners' Association of Canada (Ethics Practitioners' Association of Canada, 2001)
    "EPAC/APEC Magazine (2001-) publishes in-depth articles on subjects of interest to individuals involved in or affiliated with various fields of ethics."

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