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Quakers and Business Group
Promoting Quaker values in Business and the Workplace

A business plan showing the answers to my queries is a structured, disciplined thing, and completely essential to us both, and you have not written one yet. You see, to borrow money is a very serious thing to do. First, we must fully trust eachother and I must fully understand the nature of the use to which the funds are to be put. For they are not my funds, you see. I hold them on deposit for others, who have entrusted me with their life savings and their future security. Then, for me to lend on to you, I must feel fully confident that your venture will earn a sufficient return within an agreed period, for you to meet your needs, for me to be repaid well enough to run my business – and for my depositors to be remunerated too. And in case things go wrong, I must have some security for my depositor’s funds. Shall I meet that cost, or will you? All Bankers live by the trust depositors have in them. They trust me to invest their money wisely, return it to them when they demand it - and pay them a rate of interest in the meantime. Further, as a Quaker, I add some ethical tests too, the deeper spiritual roots of which we could discuss after Meeting, if you so wish.”

Here are some Queries about some of our Banker’s ethical concerns. What Advices might you write today?

a) Is it right to spend money on a posh holiday, a luxury car or a lounge suite? How do you convince yourself that spending your surplus on luxuries at your scale of things fits with our commitments to simplicity and helping the poor? Further, is it OK to actually borrow money to do such, er, frippery, fun, things? Shouldn't you save it first? Should a Quaker Banker encourage or permit you to spend first on fun etc, with the money entrusted to them?

b) Is it right to permit your customers so much credit that you are likely to go bust if they do not pay you? But if you refuse, they may be forced into bankruptcy.

c) How indirect does an investment in (or taking money from) something harmful have to be to make it ethically OK? Two steps away, maybe three? How are we to decide?

d) Is it right to lend money when maybe the borrower cannot repay it? Is it OK for the lender not to worry about that, because they intend to package it with better debts, sell on the whole to others, without fully disclosing the repayment risks? (Caveat emptor!) After all, creating more lendable money, ie credit, in this way makes it easier to lend more money to create more jobs! Surely, job creation is good?

e) There are more… do please suggest some, or read the Quakers & Business Group’s book: Good Business Ethics at Work, available from the Quaker Bookshop.

Oh, for the simplicities of a bygone age… Friends Lloyd, Pease, Barclay, where are you now? Were your times as ethically taxing?

A meeting place for those whose experience is that integrity in business and the workplace matters

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In today's competitive world it appears to many that anything goes in the pursuit of profit.

Q&B is an antidote to that way of thinking. We believe that acting with integrity benefits organisations, individuals, communities and society.

We champion better values in business and the workplace, based on Quaker principles. Find out more about our events, programmes, projects and research.

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Join Us

Membership of Q&B is open to all, of any religion and none, who support the purpose of the group.

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Are you looking to develop new skills, build new experience and work with new people?

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We support ideas and projects that promote Quaker principles in business and the workplace. Use our quick and easy form to request our help. You do not need to be a member of Quakers and Business Group to request our help.

Events

Events

We run a number of annual and one off events to support our various projects and initiatives. Events are open to members and non-members.

Ethics at Work front cover

Good Business: Ethics at Work (Third Edition)

This publication addresses the ethical issues that we all face in business and our working lives and invites us to examine our personal conduct in business.

You can;

Translations of the publication are available in some languages.

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Quaker Business Method

The Quaker Business Method is a way of running business meetings where everyone can agree on the decisions made and individuals don't feel alienated.