Management accountants, with their role as business partners, are ideally equipped to navigate this arena, providing the relevant insight to manage the risks as well as innovations that come with ethical scenarios. And while the Volkswagen story unfolds before our eyes, seemingly with no end in sight, it serves as a timely reminder: ignore acting ethically at your own peril.
For decades, a company's performance has been measured almost exclusively in economic terms. Social and environmental issues such as health and safety in garment factories in Bangladesh, the use of conflict minerals in our mobiles, the privacy policies of internet service providers or forced labour on our doorstep have been seen as immaterial to how a company should be valued and how investors should assess performance. This is finally - and thankfully - changing.
The corruption of the world's biggest currency dealers was exposed recently, leading to US and UK regulators imposing £2.6bn of fines on six major banks. Although an extreme example, what we have here is a prime illustration of how bad behaviour in the workplace can have incredibly serious consequences for the organisations involved.
At the beginning of May, I had the opportunity to perform one of my favourite roles overseeing Education at CFA Institute - presiding over the finals of our annual Global Research Challenge. The challenge, which tests teams on their knowledge and expertise in the investment industry, brings together the regional champions from EMEA, APAC and the Americas, each of which have beaten at least a dozen qualified and committed competitors from their regions.
Executives must realize that the previous era of financial capitalism ended with the global crisis in 2008. Clients, asset owners, and the general public are looking for the industry to return to its core purpose of serving the greater good, providing value to society so that economies and communities' thrive.
I am not competent enough to speak about the legacy that will survive Mandela. Nor am I versed in the study of politics to fully appreciate just how extraordinary Mandela's achievements have been. I am qualified to call Mandela one of the most iconic figures of our time and perhaps the 20th century's foremost actor for egalitarianism and liberation.
The issue of trust is something I feel strongly about. As a businessman and the owner of an ethical company, The Clean Space, I hear a lot of talk about building trust in terms of ethical credentials.