Introduction to the Chair of Law and Business Ethics


The Chair of Excellence in Law and Business Ethics was created in June 2007.

It is the first academic Chair in France which aims at assembling researchers and professionals to reflect upon a common subject and to promote scientific and academic activities related to Ethics and Governance, Socially Responsible Investment, reporting, rating, responsible employment, corporate social responsibility, energy and environment, compliance and healthcare.


In 1999, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Kofi Annan invited companies to implement and support the ten principles of the United Nations Global Compact. The Global Compact is an initiative for businesses to align their operation to ten universally accepted principles. These principles are based on Human Rights, environmental and labor standards, sustainability and anti-corruption concerns. The Global Compact encourages companies, all over the world, to commit to raising ethical standards in business while, for a long time, profit was their only goal. In 2000, the operational phase of the Global Compact was launched. On the 20th of April 2006, Kofi Annan nominated twenty business, trade-union and civil society representatives to sit in the Board of Directors of the UN Global Compact.

The Global Compact has given companies and the United Nations a common and ambitious goal : making companies more responsible of their actions under the supervision of the United Nations. The originality and the impact of such an initiative caught the attention of academics and more specifically of lawyers interested in integrating human rights into common business practice. Thus, if there was a classic approach to human rights, associated with fundamental freedoms, human rights are today becoming the basis of business ethics, encouraging the company to promote human values that would impact on any decision-making.

As far as it is possible, the Chair of Excellence in Law and Business Ethics has developed an educational program directly inspired by the UN initiative. Its aim is to create a European school of thought on business ethics so as to promote and increase the awareness of ethical governance and compliance (as it is understood in Anglo-Saxon countries).

The commitment of the University in the promotion of this approach is both natural and desirable. Corporate social responsibility must be given priority within a society in which fundamental values such as equality and freedom are often over shadowed by corporate interests such as money and economic power. The role of the University is to promote and spread these values, to educate and to increase awareness in order to normalize the implementation of these values within the business sphere. The role of the researchers is to test these new practices so that they can develop and refine this approach based on codes of conduct, ethics and integrity programs.

On that renewed vision of business ethics, academics and professionals will grow together and make of business ethics a fundamental topic that present and future generations will take into consideration. Ethical governance, ethical finance, socially responsible investment, responsible employment, corporate social responsibility, energy, environment are core subjects that are tackled by the Chair and education programs that it provides.

A steering committee of experts


A broad network of scientific partners

  • Center for Professionnal Responsibility (College of Business - Illinois) : This center encourages researches and teaching that aim at promoting responsible behaviors within companies and at enabling leaders of tomorrow to work in a competitive business environment.

  • Ethics and Compliance Officers Association (ECOA - Boston) : The association aims at supporting and advising professionals from all over the world regarding Ethics and Compliance. It assembles business ethics practitioners who want to share their experience and expertise with other members of the association. The Chair closely cooperates with the network of Ethics and Compliance Officers members of the Association and associates them with its scientific and education works.

  • European Business Ethics Network (EBEN - France) : The EBEN network aims at promoting business ethics in public sector and civil society.

  • Institute of Business Ethics (IBE - London) : IBE is a model institute regarding Business Ethics in Europe. Its high-quality publications serve as a benchmark for many ethics and compliance professionals. IBE aims at supporting organizations to behave ethically by offering them training and advise.

  • Research laboratory on law and politics (LEJEP - UCP) : The LEJEP assembles researchers of the University of Cergy-Pontoise specialized in law, political sciences, and legal history. It is composed of different thematic research teams. It is dedicated to the development of those teams by enabling them to promote thematic but also multidisciplinary researches bringing together researchers belonging to different teams. 

  • Transparency International France : Transparency International France is the French branch of the main non-governmental organization dedicated to transparency and integrity in public and economic life, Transparency International.

  • University of Dundee (Scotland) : Ranked among the best British universities, its law faculty is well-known for the quality of its research programs in energy and oil law. Furthermore the law faculty has developed an education program in law and governance, environment law, international criminal law and human rights.


An international award

In 2009, the Franco-American Commission awarded the Fulbright-Tocqueville Distinguished Chair to the school of Law of Cergy-Pontoise to support its efforts in the development of business ethics research and education programs. The School of Law welcomed Louis Wolcher, professor of Ethics at the University of Washington (Seattle).


Scientific activities of the Chair

  • Business conferences

Business conferences, organized with professionals, are dedicated to various topics on ethical governance.

  • Colloquia

An annual colloquium gathers academics and professionals to analyze, in depth, a chosen topic.

2011 : European Symposium

As of 2011, a European Symposium on Ethics and Governance will be organized every two years. Such event will bring together international, European and French academics and practitioners. It will be an opportunity for them to share their experience and to reflect upon issues related to ethical governance.

The aim was to promote the initiative of the Chair, to create a European school of thought on business ethics.

The first Symposium occured on Novembre 21st  and 22nd 2011. Four subjects were tackled : conflict of interests, individual or collective performance and managers' remuneration, rating agencies and social business.









Above: European Symposium 'Keys to success for Ethical Governance' Panel from November 21, 2011. Speakers shown from left to right: Emmanuel Lulin, Mary B. Schaefer, Simon Webley, Keith T. Darcy, Jean-Daniel Lainé, Bernard Claude and Pedro Montoya.

Above: European Symposium 'Conflict of Interests' Panel from November 22, 2011. Speakers shown from left to right: Nicola Bonucci, Sylvie Le Damany, Jean-Marc Sauvé, Dominique de la Garanderie, Dominique Lamoureux and Roxana Family.

Above: European Symposium 'Social Business' Panel from November 22, 2011. Speakers shown from left to right: Pierre Poret, Anthony Gooch, Carole Hommey, Christopher L. Baker, Moushumi Khan and Sébastien Duquet.

2010 : Cross-analysis on business ethics (co-organized with the Fulbright network)

Participants : Louis Wolcher, Catherine Delhaye, Christian Pardieu, Edward Hadas, S. Exc. Jacques Andréani

2009 : International corruption

Participants : Louis Wolcher, Olivier Cahn, David Chilstein, Philippe Lesoing, Philippe Montigny, Michel Essou, Mathias Audit, France Chain, Bernard Leroy, Dominique de Courcelles, Benoît-Henry Loosdregt

2008 : Corporate environmental responsability

Participants : Anne-Sophie Barthez, Roxana Family, Geneviève Viney, Denis Mazeaud, Gilles J. Martin, Anne Guégan, Béatrice Parance, Laurent Neyret, François-Guy Trebulle, Charley Hannoun, Benoît Le Bars, Gilles Hubert