Why Every Business Should Take Ethics Seriously

05/03/2017 08:27 am ET

The most successful and respectable businesses seek much more than hefty profit margins; they aspire to solve social and environmental problems. Studies indicate that businesses benefit from ethical behavior by enhancing their public image, loyalty and brand perception. And the result is often a substantially increased bottom line.

With the world aspiring for sustainability and equality, environmentally and socially friendly businesses have proved that going green and supporting charities is not just a short-lived trend, but rather, a crucial element of longevity.

Employees Expect Ethics

According to Forbes 32 percent of employees would seriously consider leaving their job if the company they work for did not actively support humanitarian causes, particularly charities. This shows that simply “not being bad” isn't good enough, and that in order to retain an inspired workforce, pursuing a better world is paramount.

Consumers Expect Ethics

Consumers also expect businesses to operate ethically – and they will be happy to pay extra for it. A recent Nielsen study found that 66 percent of customers were willing to pay more to purchase from ethical companies. In addition, around 88 percent of consumers believe companies should support charities and nonprofits with donations. In the modern world, with Internet activists constantly spreading awareness about social and environmental issues, more and more people are starting to understand that it's the consumers who can shape the way businesses operate.

Ethics Can Make a Leader Great

Management teams don't just keep day-to-day operations in check, they are also responsible for the entire vibe a company conveys to its customers. They do this by making decisions that either harm or benefit the company as a whole, and the individuals within it. Running a business ethically, from the top down, will set an example and create a stronger bond throughout the entire hierarchy chain.

Businesses Have a Moral Duty

As forerunners in the way in which we shape society, businesses have a moral obligation to improve the health of our planet and citizens; and as they become prosperous, must then strive to improve the system that they grew out of. For example, Alexander Begum of the Villarreal and Begum Law Group, is trying to set an example in the Texas law sector by donating substantial profits to local and national causes. He even managed to save an entire community that was faced with potentially losing their homes. Other businesses subsequently took note of Alexander Begum's firm due to their positive influence on the local community and started to follow suit.

Implementing Ethical Practices is Simple

Implementing and managing an ethical plan is simple. It could be as easy as switching a large trash can to a collection of recycle bins, setting up energy reduction targets and donating the savings to a worthy cause, or even getting the office staff to partake in a charitable event. It need not cost money or affect day-to-day operations.

Fundamentally, the sooner companies change, the more they'll have to gain from the ever changing system. Ethical behavior – positive treatment of workers and consumers, respect for the environment and fair market practices – comes hand-in-hand with a positive public image. In time, this will inevitably lead to greater respect, success and loyalty.

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