Portillo: 'Don't hang your ethics at the door'

By Jessica Elgot, November 17, 2011
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Former Cabinet Minister Michael Portillo has praised the ethical business standards of the Jewish community at the Jewish Association of Business Ethics annual dinner.

Mr Portillo, who was the keynote speaker at the event, also joined a panel discussion which included David Tyler, chairman of Sainsbury's; Jeremy Isaacs, founder of JRJ Group, and Dayan Isaac Berger, dayan of Manchester Beth Din, who were quizzed by former BBC presenter Nick Cosgrove.

In his speech Mr Portillo said: "In business there is a tendency to hang your ethics at the door. An individual's sense of ethics gets subsumed into the business. Many people start with good moral instincts but they get lost over time.

"Jabe is all about teaching ethics, to young people in schools and to business people in the boardroom. But in order to succeed it needs to be part of a larger cultural change. Jabe is leading the way, but we're only at the start. These standards haven't been lost within the Jewish community, and the community can set the example for the rest of the country."

Jabe hopes to reach one million students

More than 300 people attended the 20th anniversary dinner at the Park Lane Hotel, including Jewish entrepreneurs, lawyers and businessmen.

The panel discussion ranged from opportunities and ways to educate students on business ethics, to the ethics of the boardroom, and bankers' bonuses. The charity was fundraising for its educational programme, which teaches Money and Morals to sixth form students in 700 schools. They hope to expand the charity's activities to over 6,000 schools, reaching up to one million students.

Jabe chief executive Lorraine Spector said: "This was a unique and interactive discussion that gave guests the opportunity to meet some of the most influential figures in business and politics and gain an in-depth insight into the stories behind today's headlines."

    Last updated: 2:35pm, November 17 2011