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An Ethics of Fraternity

3/1/2018

by Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson

The Knights of Columbus is committed to Catholic values and leading by example

Carl A. Anderson

LAST MONTH, I shared some thoughts on the tremendous growth of the Knights of Columbus Insurance program since the year 2000: Our insurance in force has grown from $40 billion to nearly $110 billion, and our assets under management are up from $8.5 billion to nearly $25 billion.

We can all be proud of this long-term, superior performance that, year after year, extends greater financial protection to the families of our brother Knights.

I am also especially proud that once again this year we were selected as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies by the Ethisphere Institute.

We are one of only 135 companies named from 23 countries — and we are one of only three honorees in the life insurance category.

This is the fifth consecutive year that the Knights of Columbus has been so honored.

This designation recognizes that the Knights of Columbus continues to show “exemplary leadership” in such areas as “improving culture, leading authentically and committing to transparency.”

At the Knights of Columbus, we share the Ethisphere Institute’s commitment to “continually raising the standards of corporate behavior” and to “values-based leadership.”

And I am particularly grateful to have personally been named by Ethisphere as one of the “100 Most Influential People in Business Ethics” in 2014 and 2015.

As I have often said, we will not sacrifice our ethics in order to chase profits. On the contrary, we believe a values-based, ethical strategy in both marketing and investments is the best way to achieve sustainability and to remain competitive in a free-market economy.

We are proud that the Knights of Columbus way of doing business is both ethical and successful. We maintain a decades-long tradition of superior performance in operations and on the balance sheet.

Our designation by the Ethisphere Institute came soon after the release of the 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer, which found that the United States is enduring the worst collapse in trust ever recorded in the 18-year history of the survey.

Most significantly, the survey found a 30-point decline in trust in government. The trust index ranked the United States lowest of all the 28 nations surveyed.

The report stated: “In a year marked by turbulence at home and abroad, trust in institutions in the United States crashed, posting the steepest, most dramatic decline the Trust Barometer has ever measured.”

It continued, “It is no exaggeration to state that the U.S. has reached a point of crisis that should provoke every leader, in government, business, or civil sector, into urgent action. Inertia is not an option, and neither is silence. The public’s confidence in the traditional structures of American leadership is now fully undermined and has been replaced with a strong sense of fear, uncertainty and disillusionment.”

Its conclusion was perhaps most interesting: “Today, business and NGOs are viewed equally as the institutions holding the most hope for our respondents.”

This places a very special responsibility upon the Knights of Columbus as the greatest Catholic business and fraternal organization in the world. And it is a challenge that we will not turn away from.

We will continue in our mission to maintain a strong, successful business model based upon an ethics of fraternity. And we will continue to promote our values of charity, unity and fraternity as the best foundation to rebuild trust in our social and governmental institutions.

In fact, working to return these values to the center of our national life may be one of the most patriotic actions we can take today.

Some may say that the values we cherish are becoming increasingly outdated. I would ask them to remember the words of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.: “It is always the right time to do the right thing.”

Today, we have a unique opportunity to bring our Catholic values into both the marketplace and the public square.

Vivat Jesus!