Being ethical is a concern for everyone. It typically refers to the moral principles which govern our daily behaviours, for example, our judgement on what is right and wrong, decisions about what products we choose to consume etc. It can also be seen in the world of business and to me, it holds so much value. This blog is going to explain why business ethics is so important and why it should be taken seriously.
What is business ethics?
As mentioned above, ethics refers to ideas of what we view as right and wrong in the world which is of course a rather broad subject. Business ethics on the other hand is slightly more concise. The reason business ethics is different is because businesses themselves have more power to make a difference and therefore have a higher level of expected social responsibility. This responsibility of giving-back can bring about benefits to society and the business itself.
For us, business ethics has always been something that we have been involved in and it can be seen in many different forms. For example, things such as paying your invoices on time, being honest to your customers and involvement with charities create the basis of business ethics. It can also be seen in different places, last week Team Godmother and I were at the Swindon Expo – events such as this can be an example of businesses helping business to grow and develop. Whilst at the Expo, I spoke to representatives from Business Against Poverty, a charity that we are already involved with. Their mission statement is:
‘To develop with our member businesses a culture of care for our planet and compassion for its people bringing a fresh sense of team-work, creativity and shared identity that leads to increased profit and the ability to share that prosperity’
This is all in attempt to reduce poverty around the world. Funds donated by businesses are used for ethical means, so whether it’s for Orphans in Romania or whether it’s someone from Melksham who needs pots and pans, being involved in a charity can really make a difference to people’s lives. We also supported the Dementia Ball hosted by GripIt Fixings earlier this year through donations.
Although financial donations undoubtedly help charities, this is not the only way to give back – time is one of the most useful and valuable things that we can give. For example, we love to support young people so I am a Business Mentor at Abberyfield School in Chippenham. Last week I hosted a session for a group of students on ‘finding their thing’ – this is a great way to give back as it enables me to help and guide students on their future careers.
A great example of business ethics – Timpson Ltd.
Timpson Ltd., well known for services of dry cleaning, key cutting, shoe care and watch repairs provide an amazing example of business ethics and really live up to their slogan of ‘Great Service by Great People’. They offer a free dry-cleaning service for people who are unemployed and need their interview outfit to be cleaned so that individuals can look their best they can for their big day. To me this is an amazing give-back to society as Timpson’s have created a unique give-back associated with their services so I see them as an ethical company.
The benefits of being an ethical business.
There are several different benefits of being an ethical business, not only do you feel good for taking part in giving back to a group of individuals and society, you also achieve a great marketing campaign!
Whether or not you’re an ethical business is heavily considered when taking part in awards and bids, so doing your bit to give back to society (whether it be financially or your time) can influence the judge’s decision. So for us, putting our involvement in Business Against Poverty, Abbeyfield School and our other involvements such as Young Enterprise make us stand out more.
How ethical are you?
Businesses, especially large ones, are often asked about how much social responsibility they should take as they have so many different resources, whether this be financially or in terms of the time they could give. When looking at business ethics it is important to notice that people will get involved at different levels depending on their resources – my advice is to get involved at any level that you can as we really do have the potential to change people’s lives!
I believe that if I am a good person and I do good things, that good things will come back to me which is why I try my very best to get involved in ethical business behaviours – so I ask you, how ethical are you and your business?