"Honesty, mindfulness and genuine ambition"

"Business is where morals end! Or isn't it?" This was the intentionally provocative wording of the theory put forward by Professor Klaus Schweinsberg during the "Handel(n) mit Verantwortung" dialogue event. The exchange on business ethics formed the focus of the AGRAVIS event held at Raiffeisenhaus on Pariser Platz in Berlin. Representatives from the political sphere, associations and industry were invited.

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AGRAVIS Raiffeisen AG engaged in a discussion on a hot topic for the second time during a dialogue event. "AGRAVIS is not a distant global enterprise, but rather a classic agricultural trade company with a profoundly down-to-earth approach and reliable customer orientation," said Chairman of the AGRAVIS Board Dr. Clemens Große Frie in his welcome address to guests. Besides the quality of the products and services, the company is today above all measured according to the values that it represents and that each individual demonstrates through their actions. "I firmly believe in the values and principles that apply in this country: reliability, social market economy and transparency. We attempt to also live this in the AGRAVIS world," said Große Frie.

In his speech, Professor Schweinsberg outlined how the functionary elite in the German economy have been dangerously estranged from the values of their home country over the past 20 years. In many places, virtues such as honesty, mindfulness and genuine ambition have given way to hubris, arrogance and sheer greed. A return to these virtues and redefinition of the selection criteria for managers is necessary. "Respectable management and respectable managers are needed!" Those who want to make it to the top must work for the benefit of society. In the wake of the last financial and economic crisis, genuine and valuable virtues are the new learning goals.

Does the economy have a conscience and how can companies remain competitive in a globalised world without losing sight of their morals? Chairman of the AGRAVIS Managing Board Dr. Clemens Große Frie and Member of the Managing Board Dirk Bensmann discussed this and other questions with Professor Schweinsberg and the auditorium during the "Handel(n) mit Verantwortung" event.

Recent scandals shed a bad light on the economy. Are these isolated incidents or rather the reflection of a lack of morals among major companies? Questions such as these preoccupied the common discourse that followed the dialogue event. It was made clear: "Make money, yes, but not at any price." For ethics continue to play a central role in many companies in the wake of the financial and economic crisis. "This being said, values must also be lived by an organisation's leaders," emphasised Professor Schweinsberg.

The discrepancy between profit and knowledge was discussed in addition to the opportunities to combine these. The participants agreed that the economy can and must once again assume an important role model function for society. Besides the companies, the political sphere also has a moral responsibility and must contribute to and demonstrate their adherence to fundamental virtues. Further aspects of the discussion included the balance between the economy and environment, and companies' social commitment. "A company such as AGRAVIS wishes to have a sustainable impact and relies on a balance between economic profitability, ecological compatibility and social acceptance," explains AGRAVIS Member of the Managing Board Dirk Bensmann, referring to the agricultural trade company's sustainability team that will publish its third sustainability report sustainability report in the coming year.

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