The essence of an ethical corporate culture in supporting corporate sustainable development efforts
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Recent corporate history saw much contrast in ethical behaviour in the global corporate environment. On the one hand Dante’s deadly sin of avarice was running amok, which resulted in spectacular corporate demises. On the other hand there was the rise of the concept of sustainable development, which describes an organisational culture-change aiming to ensure that routine business decisions are made within a socially and morally responsible framework. Given the realities of the modern business environment, intangible ethical philosophies and lip-service codes of ethical conduct may not be sufficient to ensure responsible and sustainable corporate, environmental and social development.This article considers the concept of sustainable development is considered against the background of the concept of the triple bottom line, before considering the concepts of ethical corporate behaviour against utilitarianism and formalism as opposing theories, and finally also reflecting on embedding an ethical corporate behavioural culture in support of sustainable development efforts. It is concluded that even though stakeholder balanced utilitarian approach could be the best way to define a sustainability ethical theory, it is crucial that there should be a concerted effort to foster a corporate culture of ethical behaviour.