Welcome to a brand new way to network
Every Tuesday

Welcome to a new way to keep in touch through our business connections.  Every Tuesday we will explore business issues, reports and feature ethical businesses to help us find the best products and services.

We are a new business networking group for Rotary members across the world.  We are becoming a friendly and informal networking and referral group who meet online each week and which is open to Rotarians and non Rotarians alike.

This week we examine what it means to describe your business as ethical.

"Being Good is Good Business" Dame Anita Roddick 1942-2007  Founder of the Body Shop.
“Being Good is Good Business”
Dame Anita Roddick 1942-2007
Founder of the Body Shop.

“Being Good is Good Business”

“Being Good is Good Business” Dame Anita Roddick 1942-2007 Founder of the Body Shop.
“Being Good is Good Business”
Dame Anita Roddick 1942-2007
Founder of the Body Shop.

Much is said about being an ethical business but it’s easier said than practised.
Ethical principles and standards in business define acceptable conduct and should underpin how management make decisions.

However behaving ethically is not quite the same thing as behaving lawfully:
•    Ethics are about what is right and what is wrong
•    Law is about what is lawful and what is unlawful

An ethical decision is one that is both legal and meets the shared ethical standards of the community.  Businesses and industries increasingly find themselves facing external pressure to improve their ethical track record.  With the rise of consumer activism online there has been much more scrutiny of business activities.

For example pressure groups tend to focus on activities & ethical practice of multinationals or industries with ethical issues.  They combine direct and indirect action to damage the target business or industry.

Direct consumer action is another way in which business ethics can be challenged. Consumers may take action against:
•    Businesses they consider to be unethical in some ways (e.g. animal furs)
•    Business acting irresponsibly
•    Businesses that use business practices they find unacceptable
Of course consumer action can also be positive – supporting businesses with a strong ethical stance & record such as Fair Trade.

There are advantages for businesses in behaving ethically which include higher revenues – demand from positive consumer support; improved brand and business awareness and recognition; better employee motivation and recruitment; new sources of finance – e.g. from ethical investors

A business which describes itself as ethical has to ensure that all those involved in their supply chain are behaving ethically.  An ethical business will need to ensure that their suppliers, contractors, distributors and sales agents all behave ethically in the delivery of the product and services of a business.

Many businesses today create their own ethical policy for their business and provide guidelines for staff.  Rotary has one of the simplest policies to understand which covers both personal and business relationships.

Known as the Four Way Test it states:
Of the things we think, say or do
1.    Is it the truth?
2.    Is it fair to all concerned?
3.    Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
4.    Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

How do you feel about importance of behaving ethically in business?  Is it an issue for your business?  Does it improve your customer base? Your brand?  or a costly nice to have?   Please share your thoughts on the comments below.





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0 thoughts on “The eBusiness Network

  1. Janice Mason says:

    I have recently contracted at large companies who are investing heavily in developing systems to improve the customers’ experience, using models like the Net Promoter Score. The sceptics say that they are only doing it to strengthen their customer base and make more money, and maybe they are as that is the fundamental reason of running a commercial business, but if that investment also ensures that I as a customer enjoy the experience of buying from one of these companies surely it is a win/win situation that is a no-brainer. If other companies are providing customer concentric services that is where customers will go, surely we cannot afford to not invest.

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