Bankinter Consumer Finance and Universidad Pontificia Comillas give the First Award for Business Ethics Research

The professors and researchers, José Luis Retolaza and Leire San José, received this award for their academic contribution to the field of corporate ethics, a priority in corporate social responsibility.

According to the judges, 43 studies ‘of the highest quality’ were submitted, of which 10 were finalists.

The Professors for Economic and Business Ethics of Universidad Pontificia Comillas and Bankinter Consumer Finance, Bankinter’s consumer lending arm, have hit their first milestone: the First Award for Business Ethics Research, which was given out this morning in Madrid.

José Luis Retolaza, economics professor at Universidad de Deusto, and Leire San José, professor and head researcher in the Ethics in Finance and Social Value (ECRI) research team at the Universidad del País Vasco (UPV/EHU), were the winners of this award, given out for the first time today. Their study titled ‘Contabilidad social para la sostenibilidad: un instrumento para facilitar la ética en la empresa’ (‘Social accounting for sustainability: an instrument to facilitate ethics in companies’) was selected by judges as the best research project amongst those submitted, and recognised for its high academic quality in the field of corporate ethics.

Their article discusses the need for organisations to report on their social performance (social responsibility in its fullest meaning) and analyses the various ways to do so. The authors delve further into social accounting, which monetises social value as it is created or detracted. According to the judges, ‘the article reaffirms the possibility of, and the interest in, developing social accounting practices in all types of organisations, and provides some exploratory proposals concerning how to optimise them so that they might be sustainable’.

Ángela Castuera, business consultant and manager of R&D and innovation projects, won second prize for her study ‘Responsabilidad Social Empresarial e Innovación como motores de crecimiento y competitividad en las Pyme’  (‘Corporate Social Responsibility and Innovation as drivers of growth and competitiveness amongst SMEs’). The author studied two important aspects relating to corporate strategy, which are corporate social responsibility (CSR) and innovation, and assessed the influence both strategic variables have on the business world as differentiating and value-added factors for the company.

Awards with great acclaim

The awards ceremony was hosted by Alfonso Sáez, chief executive officer of Bankinter Consumer Finance, and by Julio L. Martínez, SJ, rector of Universidad Pontificia Comillas.

Alfonso Sáez pointed out that ‘we believe it is very important to promote this type of initiative, which highlights corporate ethics in the business world, since we all, as companies, must be socially responsible in our operations. We must work to reinforce these values even more’.

Julio L. Martínez, SJ, rector of Universidad Pontificia Comillas, wished to ‘congratulate and thank Bankinter Consumer Finance for its support of an award directly linked to ethics, CSR and sustainability. Through it, we reveal the type of managers we want to prepare, what type of organisations we want to promote and what type of society we want to build; and we clearly proclaim the importance we put on (self-)critical thinking, sincere dialogue and the quest for profundity and universality. The partnership between Bankinter and the Professors for Economic and Business Ethics of Comillas is called to bear many and very good fruits. This is my wish’.

The event received great acclaim in its début, with 43 valid and high-quality research studies that satisfied the event’s requirements: articles, books reports, doctoral theses, final university projects and final master projects. Following an arduous selection process, ten of these studies became finalists.

The judges panel included Alfonso María Sáez Alonso-Muñumer, chief executive officer of Bankinter Consumer Finance; José Antonio Barberá García, senior director of sustainability at Bankinter; Almudena Rodríguez Beloso, head of corporate social responsibility and environment at Accenture; Inés Gomis Bertrand, managing partner at Temple Asesores; Javier Camacho Ibáñez, business consultant and member of the faculty of Economic and Business Ethics at Comillas-ICADE; Javier Fuertes López, professor of corporate ethics and social responsibility at Comillas-ICADE; Juan Benavides Delgado, professor of communication at Universidad Complutense de Madrid; and Fernando Velasco Fernández, professor at Universidad Rey Juan Carlos and director of the faculty of intelligence services and democratic systems, who were in charge of selecting the first and second-place studies.

Furthermore, José Luis Fernández Fernández, director of the Professors for Economic and Business Ethics at Universidad Pontificia Comillas, acted as the secretary of the judges panel, able to participate but not vote in deliberations.

Cooperation for business ethics

This initiative started in November 2017, when the Professors for Economic and Business Ethics at Universidad Pontificia Comillas and Bankinter Consumer Finance signed a partnership agreement to find synergies amongst both entities and strengthen business ethics, social responsibility, corporate governance and sustainability within the business world. Their objective is to highlight corporate ethics amongst businesses.

About Bankinter Consumer Finance

Bankinter Consumer Finance is one of the financial entities that grew the most in 2017 within the Spanish banking sector. It maintains its strong growth in 2018: in the first quarter of 2018, it increased its loan book by 35.1%, year on year, with over 1.5 billion euros in loans and receivables. Its customer portfolio also increased during that quarter by 20.2%, year on year, reaching over 1,144,000 customers.

About the Professors for Economic and Business Ethics of Comillas-ICADE

The Professors for Economic and Business Ethics is a forum for reflection, debate and research on topics relating to business ethics, social responsibility and corporate civic duties. It is a meeting point for scholars, business owners, managers and other professionals interested in promoting ethical leadership in organisations, within a globally economic context.