Teams are free to use a topic of their choice. Topics should have an ethical component related to one of the seventeen UN Sustainable Development Goals, their targets, and indicators. (See the SDG Resources page for more details.) Make sure your topic is a specific issue that can be addressed in 20-25 minutes to a Board or senior management meeting of an organization. Ethics issues related to for-profit businesses, as well as non-profit and public policy organizations, are welcome. See the FAQs for more information about choosing a topic.
Teams must use the provided template on the Executive Summary page to prepare a one-page handout that will be given to judges prior to the presentation. Executive summaries should be submitted by the deadline posted on the Registration and Deadlines page. Other handouts are also permitted (see FAQs for more details.)
Your presentation should describe the ethical, financial, and legal aspects of a problem an organization is facing, with an emphasis on the ethical dimensions, and propose a solution that is acceptable on all 3 counts. Be certain that you are ultimately taking a position. Do not simply report on different ways that the issue can be regarded. When analyzing the issue, pay attention to the following:
FINANCIAL ISSUES. Identify the financial impact of the problem and the financial implications of the solution. A detailed financial analysis is not necessary as long as there is an explanation of: how (and to what extent) the problem raises or lowers the company’s costs or profits; the costs of your solution; whether the company is in a position to afford your solution; etc.
LEGAL ISSUES. Identify laws, regulations or court cases that effectively restrict or regulate what the company may do. Obviously, significant fines or settlements are also important financial issues.
ETHICAL ISSUES. Teams are will be expected to utilize a secular, philosophical framework that discusses ethics in terms of the tangible good and/or harm experienced by those affected (humans and, if appropriate, nonhumans) and the “rights” or fundamental moral principles involved.
Because this is a business competition, DO NOT use technical, philosophical terminology or cite philosophers. Keep in mind that you are addressing organizations that do business and should instead refer the organization’s mission statement, code of values/conduct, etc.
Please keep the following questions in mind when conducting your analysis and crafting a solution:
- Who are all the parties involved, and does the problem/solution harm anyone?
- Are there ways that those harmed (or others) are benefited in a way that justifies the harm? Does the good outweigh the harm?
- In thinking about these benefits and harms, are you taking into account that some goods are qualitatively better than others and that some harms are qualitatively worse than others?
- Completely apart from the tangible impact of the problem/solution on those affected, is everyone involved being treated appropriately? That is, are there specific “rights” or “duties” that are a part of this case that must be respected? Is there a conflict of rights, duties or obligations? How should the conflict be handled?
- What goals does your solution ultimately advance?
In order for a team to receive an award of any sort:
- All deadlines as laid out on the Registration and Deadlines page must be met.
- Every member of your team must speak at some point during the full presentation.
- Team members should dress in appropriate business attire. Suits are preferred.
- Your presentation should be loaded onto a laptop, which will be connected to a projector in your presentation room. Internet access will be available and you may use web-based software, though we recommend you have an off-line back up in case of an internet outage.
If you have questions about any aspect of this competition, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Chiray Koo at (310) 258-4640.