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Businesses & Ethics

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GP Spider

on 20 July 2013

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Transcript of Businesses & Ethics

How far should businesses
be concerned with ethics ?

How far = extent , degree
should = moral & pragmatic motives
businesses = producers, sellers, service providers / firms whose main focus is trade or commercial activity (varied in terms of scale or type, but generally having a profit motive)
ethics = a set of principles that guides moral action including granting rights, upholding integrity, being fair, preventing cruelty, showing compassion

= major stakeholders in society
Businesses provide practically all of the goods and services we have
direct to us OR indirectly via the government
Collectively, the private sector employs more people than the public sector
Businesses (quality & price of products, wages) impact our lives, and can even influence our values and attitudes
With such immense power comes the indubitable burden of responsibility.
It is in the best interest of businesses to help make their business model sustainable and contribute to a stable society, which forms their market
Duty to the consumer
impact on reputation, customer loyalty and long-term success
creating a climate of trust (instead of fear and distrust) which can affect the entire sector, not just one irresponsible firm
Duty to Workers
workers' rights
impacts productivity
threatens stability (workers protest, walk-out, watchdogs hound)
affects reputation
Duty to the Environment
take more now = less left for later
'guilty' of creating demand >> duty to conserve
have $$ for R&D = more efficient use of resources
Duty to Society
What values and attitudes do businesses promote
through their products
through the way they conduct business
melamine in milk powder
newspaper in bao
horse meat in beef
mad cow disease
tainted toys
with the state
Raising of prices or limiting supply, especially of necessities, has an impact on the average person
Affects his ability to purchase other products >> sets off sense of alarm in society
unhealthy in the long run for the overall business climate
Apple releases list of 156 suppliers (following Hewlett Packard, Nike, Intel) to allow these suppliers to be subjected to scrutiny
Google famously sets the standard for a happy work environment >> attract talent
Big-name retailers involved in Bangladesh factory fires (Wal-Mat, Disney, Sears, Gap)
Foxconn's abuse of workers making Apple products >> suicide
child labour (Nike, Gap)
The problem faced by Rona, Canada's largest furniture manufacturer >> It's not easy being green
Oil spills >> BP @ Gulf of Mexico (2010)
responsible agriculture & fishing
Fair trade
Eat healthy, read labels
Buffet fine (weigh & pay)
Vanity & superficiality (Abecrombie & Fitch, beauty treatments)
Insecurity & one-upmanship (cars, homes)
Wastefulness (gadget upgrades)

Businesses should be concerned with ethics in order for them to work in tandem with the other influential stakeholder in society - the state. The enlightened state is likely to have many measures to curb irresponsible corporate behaviour. Businesses should toe the line for their own sake.
Better yet, instead of waiting for the state to enact restrictions, businesses should show initiative in being ethical to reduce wastage. This, in turn, frees up funds for more efficient government spending
>> more $$ for businesses
rice hoarding (Congressman in the Philippines calls to criminalise this, 2012)
Yom Kippur War & the oil crisis (1973-1974)
setting of interest rates by banks
Full transcript