Businesses committed to a sustainable future: Focus remains on good ethics, inclusive growth and environment

To mark the Global Ethics Day 2020, ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) joined forces with CFA Society Pakistan, HBL, ICMA Pakistan, Pakistan Stock Exchange Limited (PSX), and the Pakistan Business Council’s Centre of Excellence in Responsible Business (CERB) for a series of panel discussions engaging country’s top business leaders.

Titled ‘The Big Conversation – Ethics and Sustainability’, and covering five highly relevant topics, the conversations explored how organisations can play a role in building a fairer and more ethical world and commit to minimising environmental impact whilst putting social responsibility at the heart of business strategy.

The conversation leaders constructively discussed the pressing ethical and environmental challenges of today and exchanged views and solutions on how organisations can blaze the trail of sustainability and cultivate a culture of workplace ethics. 

The business leaders stressed that businesses can continue to deliver financial returns while generating positive value for society and being environmentally responsible for the planet. As our world strives to recover from the impact of Covid-19, they feel that there is a growing demand for organisations and nations to become fairer and more sustainable.

The panel discussions included country’s most prominent business leaders and sustainability trailblazers, including luminaries from the regulators such as Sadia Khan, Commissioner, Securities & Exchange Commission of Pakistan, Dr Inayat Hussain, Executive Director – FS & BSG – State Bank of Pakistan, Bushra Naz Malik, Member, Competition Commission of Pakistan, Usman Hayat, CEO, Audit Oversight Board, and Farrukh H. Khan, CEO/ Managing Director, Pakistan Stock Exchange.

There was also a strong representation of financial services sector with panellists such as Jamal Nasir, Chief Human Resource Officer, Habib Bank Limited, Mohammad Shoaib, CEO, Al Meezan Investment Management Limited, Khurram Shahid FCCA, Head of Investment Banking – AKD Securities, Ayesha Aziz, CEO, Pak Brunei Investment Company Ltd., and Mashmooma Zehra Majeed, CEO, MUFAP.

To share the perspective of corporate sector, progressive, forward-thinking business voices, such as Syed Ali Naseer, Chief Business Officer, Jazz, Almas Hyder, Chairman, Synthetic Products Enterprises Ltd. & Engineering Development Board, Naz Khan, Chief Strategy Officer, K Electric, Ahmad Ali Zia, Group Chief HR Officer & CEO – People & Business Partnering, HRSG, and Ehsan Malik, CEO – Pakistan Business Council, also contributed with their exclusive insights and recommendations.

To examine the challenges raised by new technologies and propose solutions, leadership of the tech industry was also present to deliberate on how organisations can build trust in a digital age. Thought leaders from the tech sector included Zouhair Khaliq, Co-Founder & Partner, TeamUp, Asif Peer, CEO/ Managing Director, Systems Limited, Jehan Ara, Founder, The NEST I/O & President, P@SHA, Faisal Qamar, Co-Founder – HRSG BPO, and Shahjahan Chaudhary, Project Director, National Incubation Centre (Karachi).

Sajjeed Aslam, Head of ACCA Pakistan and Dr. Arshad Ahmad, Vice Chancellor, Lahore University of Management Sciences shared how our education sector can help the professionals of the future build an ethical character and prepare them to lead on the issues of sustainability and environment.

Acknowledging that the accountancy profession has a vital role to play in promoting the highest standards of ethics and upholding public trust, the conversations featured a strong representation from the profession, with contributions from Asim Siddiqui, Country Managing Partner / CEO, EY Ford Rhodes Pakistan, Muhammad Asim, President, CFA Society Pakistan, Omer Zaheer Meer FCCA, Managing Partner, MLCC, Zia-Ul-Mustafa, President, ICMA Pakistan, Stuart Dunlop, Market Director – MESA, ACCA, Nick Pollard, Managing Director Asia Pacific, CFA, Ayla Majid FCCA, Managing Director, Khalid Majid Rehman, Javaria Malik, Director Marketing and Communications, ICMA Pakistan, and Sadaf Shabbir, Director, CFA Society Pakistan. 

Attended by a large number of business professionals and students, the conversations aim to promote awareness and inspire individual action.

The conversations were based on following five themes:

  • Ethics & Trust – Regulatory Coherence in the Digital Age
  • Balancing the demands of modern business and customer needs
  • Workplace Ethics – Startup Ecosystem fuelling workforce of the future
  • A force for Public Good: Accelerating inclusive economic growth
  • Reimagining Future Skills in the Age of AI and Data: Bridging the Gap Between the Academia and the Real World

Global Ethics Day is an annual, international day dedicated to exploring the role of ethics in today’s world. Founded by the Carnegie Council, organisations are encouraged to hold programmes focusing on ethics, such as lectures, film screenings, debates, panel discussions, or activities to protect the environment.

In addition to these virtual panel discussions, to celebrate Global Ethics Day 2020, ACCA in Pakistan also conducted several other activities such as a Virtual Film Festival & Teach-in, Ethics Essay Competition in partnership with CFA Society Pakistan, the release of ACCA’s latest research into sustainable public finances, and a global prize themed ‘Ethics and Trust in Finance for a Sustainable Future’.