There is no substitute for a culture of integrity in organizations. Compliance alone with the law is not enough. History shows that those who make a practice of skating close to the edge always wind up going over the line. A higher bar of ethics performance is necessary. That bar needs to be set and monitored in the boardroom.  ~J. Richard Finlay writing in The Globe and Mail.

Sound governance is not some abstract ideal or utopian pipe dream. Nor does it occur by accident or through sudden outbreaks of altruism. It happens when leaders lead with integrity, when directors actually direct and when stakeholders demand the highest level of ethics and accountability.  ~ J. Richard Finlay in testimony before the Standing Committee on Banking, Commerce and the Economy, Senate of Canada.

The Finlay Centre for Corporate & Public Governance is the longest continuously cited voice on modern governance standards. Our work over the course of four decades helped to build the new paradigm of ethics and accountability by which many corporations and public institutions are judged today.

The Finlay Centre was founded by J. Richard Finlay, one of the world’s most prescient voices for sound boardroom practices, sanity in CEO pay and the ethical responsibilities of trusted leaders. He coined the term stakeholder capitalism in the 1980s.

We pioneered the attributes of environmental responsibility, social purposefulness and successful governance decades before the arrival of ESG. Today we are trying to rebuild the trust that many dubious ESG practices have shattered. 


We were the first to predict seismic boardroom flashpoints and downfalls and played key roles in regulatory milestones and reforms.

We’re working to advance the agenda of the new boardroom and public institution of today: diversity at the table; ethics that shine through a culture of integrity; the next chapter in stakeholder capitalism; and leadership that stands as an unrelenting champion for all stakeholders.

Our landmark work in creating what we called a culture of integrity and the ethical practices of trusted organizations has been praised, recognized and replicated around the world.


Our rich institutional memory, combined with a record of innovative thinking for tomorrow’s challenges, provide umatached resources to corporate and public sector players.

Trust is the asset that is unseen until it is shattered.  When crisis hits, we know a thing or two about how to rebuild trust— especially in turbulent times.

We’re still one of the world’s most recognized voices on CEO pay and the role of boards as compensation credibility gatekeepers. Somebody has to be.

As we have been suggesting for a while now, the biggest and most damaging impact from China has not been the poisoned dog food or the counterfeit toothpaste, nor is it even the lead in children’s toys or the SARS epidemic which originated in China and almost shut down parts of Canada. Serious and unsettling as these have been, they pale in comparison to China’s apparent power to induce North American consumers to fall into a state of obliviousness and sleep walk into disaster in their pursuit of cheap products.

It seems many have forgotten that they are really dealing with and enriching a regime that is fundamentally corrupt, as any dictatorship which lacks principles of transparency and accountability fundamentally is. The West was too quick to grant China most favored nation status some years ago. It did so without thinking about the consequences —about the lost jobs at home, the appalling working and sanitary conditions in China or about making a communist totalitarian system one of the major creditors of the United States. We are beginning to see some of those consequences, just as we are the spectacle of what some companies will do in placing profits ahead of prudence.

As we have remarked before, the real concern is that this is just the tip of the iceberg and that a number of other shocks lie ahead —not just involving product safety but other ways in which the China contagion of corruption and deceit, along with its mounting wealth, has afflicted our society, our economy and our institutions.

It has long been said that there is no free lunch. If that is the case, perhaps we have all paid a much higher price than anticipated for the products we thought China was producing at bargain basement prices. What we observed a few months ago seems particularly fitting at this time of summer holidays and daily horrors in the marketplace.

None of us can afford to take a vacation from the stakeholder responsibilities we all have as citizens, consumers and investors, and when we do, the results can be chilling.