What Makes An “Ethical” Business?

Contributed Post


Each and every one of us is striving for greatness when it comes to developing our own unique business ideas. For so many of us, the idea of doing business can mean compromising ourselves in some way. But what we cannot compromise in the modern age is the topic of business ethics. Ethics are a vital component of us as human beings, but now, as customers are so demanding of products to be sourced ethically and the business proprietors operate in an ethical manner, this leaves us with a lot of head scratching. And while we are planning our journey towards being ethical, we have to give careful consideration to how we can make our business ethical. And what are the main configurations of an ethical business?

The Values

Part of this can be down to the core values. You can make a core value statement that sets out specifically your mission. While any business can easily create a statement of core values, the difficulty is in sticking to it. This is where a code of conduct comes into play. While enforcing values is about taking those opportunities to assess the business and if you’re heading in the right direction, a lot of it is to do with your individual practices. It all depends on the industry you operate in. The construction industry is a force for good, just as long as you are able to source raw materials ethically. From franna cranes to the steel structures, an industry like construction is dependent on the materials being of sound quality. Because now, we are trapped in a period of arrested development, especially due to the precarious nature of the market, businesses are looking to cut corners whenever they can. This means that buying the cheapest isn’t buying the most ethical. And while the increase of tariffs may stall many developing businesses, if this compromises your values, it’s time to desperately rethink your entire approach.


Respect and ethics are two sides to the same coin. It’s amazing how many modern businesses do not conduct their practices with the utmost respect for its customers, employees, clients, and anyone else you would care to imagine! Looking at why businesses don’t always operate with respect for these social groups, it boils down to tradition. Look at the factory setup, it’s interesting to see that now, while many manufacturing businesses are looking to push forward and modernize their approaches, there are still some business leaders in this sector that are stuck in the past. Factories and conveyor belt oriented roles appear to be representative of a time gone by- the image of people in overalls slaving away for minimal pay. The modern business is all about a holistic approach. Running a company holistically doesn’t mean kowtowing to the employees’ every whim. It’s about respect. Respect is done very simply: you make promises that you keep, and make this a throughline in how you work with every member of staff, customer, and client. Respect is one of those things that you notice when it’s not there. Especially when you look at a customer service industry like restaurants. We all know when we’ve had terrible service or a waiter has given us reason to complain. Respect is just one of those things that are essential, and it appears to be a human quality that’s fleeting. Is this because of businesses being pushed to their very limits due to a lack of money? It appears so, but we can’t maintain a passive-aggressive nature, especially when we’re in charge. This will only trickle down to our employees, and they will believe this to be the accepted landscape.

A Leader That Leads

Yes, it’s stating the obvious. But, a leader that leads their company to greatness is methodical, organised and knows the bigger picture. When it comes to operating ethically, you need to have these qualities in spades. It’s all well and good drafting a value statement, but if you don’t live and die by these words, it doesn’t give anybody else a reason to do this. This is another big problem that leaders can suffer from, and it appears that many leaders are of the impression that they can do what they want. Very much a case of “do as I say, not as I do”. However, this is anathema to an ethically sound business, from the top to the bottom of the ranks. It all comes from what you do- in your daily practices, in your business decisions, but also in how you are. To be a leader that leads with strong characteristics, it’s a very subjective concept for you to debate. Some people believe old-school military leaders to be the hallmarks of leadership, whereas others look to Abraham Lincoln and leaders with a more personal touch. But, make no mistake; it’s up to you to choose the path that is ethically sound. You will be tested as a leader, and this can mean making sacrifices that aren’t viewed as ethically sound. This is especially true when you have to cut financial corners because if you are perceived to be financially driven, this will filter down through your employees and create a culture that not ethical in the slightest. To create a company culture that is ethical, you have to be the leading light. Yes, it’s partially about hiring the right people, but as the business evolves and members of staff come and go, at the end of it all, it’s your name on the documentation.

An ethical business is a vital commodity now. It’s not just about paying lip service to the idea of being ethical so you can win more custom, it’s about being earnest in your practices throughout your company dealings. This is something we all learn as we go, and we will hit dilemmas when we have to make decisions for the good of our employees. You will be tested as to whether you are ethically sound, but if you make the decision right now to be a force for good, this will influence so much positivity throughout the company you run.



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