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Saint Peter’s Business Students Take Second Place in International Ethics Competition

By Marilú Marcillo, Ph.D., associate professor of business

For the first time Saint Peter’s University competed in the International Business Ethics Case Competition (IBESCC), the oldest and most distinguished intercollegiate business ethics competition of its kind.

The 2021 IBESCC was held virtually on April 8 and 9 by Loyola Marymount University’s College of Business Administration in California. This innovative competition enabled students from around the world to persuasively apply ethical reasoning to practical issues and the moral imperative of sustainable development. Each team chose their own ethics issue, which was related to one of the 17 globally adopted United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that focused on a wide range of social, environmental and economic issues. Presentations were judged by a panel of executive judges with experience in corporate leadership, business ethics and sustainability.

The Saint Peter’s team competed in three categories: a 90-second elevator pitch, 10-minute oral presentation and a 25-minute PowerPoint presentation, earning second place in the 10-minute oral competition.

The team included Marie-Christine Geck ’21, a business management major; Fatema Khan ’22, a marketing management major; Martin Le Pays Du Teilleul ’21, an international business major; Andrea Rosas ’22, an international business major; Jili Zhu ’21, a business management major; and their faculty advisor Marilú Marcillo, Ph.D., associate professor of business. The team sought to address SDG goal #3, Good Health and Well-being. The team proposed to Philip Morris International (PMI) a substitute from tobacco to hemp cigarettes in the country of Indonesia.

Each year, approximately a quarter-million Indonesians are killed by tobacco-caused illnesses. This high number can be traced back to the population’s large percentage of smokers. While 34 percent of the population smokes, the remaining, including Indonesia’s children, are exposed to secondhand smoke at home and in public places. The local tobacco production and the lack of governmental control made the country an ideal place for large tobacco corporations. Thus, making Indonesia the largest consumer of cigarettes in the Asia Pacific region. In the past decade, PMI has made significant strides in rebranding the company with investments in the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World and transforming from solely a cigarette company to striving for a smoke-free future. Forgoing this transition, critics raise concerns about the paradox that is a cigarette company planning to create a smoke-free society.

The Saint Peter’s business ethics team believed that PMI can effectively achieve its mission statement of delivering a smoke-free future with the promising future of hemp cigarettes. With studies of the company’s new e-cigarette, IQOS, showing no detectable differences between conventional cigarettes; there is a greater initiative now to develop an alternative to ensure the future of a smoke-free environment.