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The Good, the Bad and the Greedy: A critical look at UK business ethics

4th January 2022

Northumbria University, Newcastle, has hosted a public lecture in partnership with the North-East Initiative on Business Ethics (NIBE) featuring two eminent speakers with strong views on 21st Century corporate behaviour.

The lecture, held at Northumbria’s Newcastle Business School toward the end of last year, showcased two recent books; The Good the Bad and the Greedy: Why We’ve Lost Faith in Capitalism by Spectator business editor Martin Vander Weyer, and From Bags To Blenders: The Journey of a Yorkshire Businessman by manufacturer and venture capitalist Gordon Black CBE. The lecture format will include a dialogue between the two authors.  

Professor Robert MacIntosh, Pro Vice-Chancellor for the Faculty of Business and Law at Northumbria and Chair of the Chartered Association of Business Schools, said: “There is a palpable appetite for business to play its part in a responsible and sustainable recovery from the pandemic but as we heard from our high-profile speakers, ethical values are too often conspicuous by their absence. We are delighted to be hosting the lecture in partnership with NIBE which work tirelessly to promote responsible business. I look forward to welcoming staff, students and the business community to this great event.”

Caroline Theobald CBE, co-founder of NIBE and Chair of the Advisory Board at Newcastle Business School, added: “Our aspiration at NIBE is to become a focal point for good business behaviour and to see the entire North East region recognised as a great place to do trustworthy, honest and transparent business.  This conversation between Martin and Gordon was a perfect opportunity to advance the cause, and to showcase highly entertaining, insightful and sometimes hard-hitting experiences from the world of business.”   

In The Good the Bad and the Greedy, published by Biteback, Martin Vander Weyer argues that capitalism has lost its moral compass, has lost public trust and is in urgent need of repair — but remains a great engine of progress and prosperity.

From Bags To Blenders: The Journey of a Yorkshire Businessman, published by Icon Books, recalls the author’s long experience as a manufacturing supplier to Marks & Spencer and draws lessons on how all companies should care for staff, suppliers and customers as well as shareholders.

For more information on the work of NIBE and Newcastle Business School on business ethics, and to view the public lecture in full please click here


Note to editors

NIBE was established in 2013 by working professionals interested and involved in business ethics. It works through face-to-face meetings and seminars advising companies how to develop ethical practices.

Martin Vander Weyer is the weekly ‘Any Other Business’ columnist of The Spectator and a regular contributor to the Daily Telegraph. He also leads The Spectator’s Economic Innovator of the Year Awards for UK entrepreneurs and is currently an Academic Visitor at St Antony’s College, Oxford.

Before turning to journalism, he was an investment banker in London, Brussels and the Far East. He has previously published Falling Eagle: The Decline of Barclays Bank (2000); Closing Balances: Business Obituaries from the Daily Telegraph (2006); Fortune’s Spear (2011); Any Other Business: Life In and Out of the City (2014); and January Poet (2020).

Gordon Black CBE DL was born in 1943 and educated at Bootham School, York and Clare College, Cambridge, where he took a degree in History. He joined his family company Peter Black Holdings in 1965 and became Chairman in 1977. Peter Black Holdings was a major supplier of footwear, toiletries, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and logistics to leading UK retailers, with annual sales of £300 million and around 3,000 employees.

Gordon now runs Black Family Investments with his brother Thomas, and was awarded a CBE in 2005 for services to business and charity. He helped set up the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust, to raise awareness of mental health issues at work.  He is married to Louise, with three children and nine grandchildren, and lives in Yorkshire.

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