As a company, you want to behave and act in a socially responsible manner. You have a moral obligation and in some cases, you’ll want to tell your customers about what you’re doing to be ethical. Customers are finding it more important to choose companies that have solid ethical policies in place. So, every organisation should have one – even if you’re just a small business.
Brighthub.com says that by focusing on the impact a business decision or action will have on all stakeholders, rather than solely on the bottom line and what profit you will receive from it, companies can avoid making decisions that are on the wrong side of the line between right and wrong. This is important to customers and probably important to your staff too. Employees are also picking between companies that are ethically responsible when they apply for a job. So, it is good for you, it is good for your staff, it is good for your customers and more importantly, it is good for the environment/society in which your business functions.
So, with this in mind, we look at the kind of things you might want to look at when you consider your ethical policy. You should type this policy up, review it annually and display it on your website and with your other policies.
- Consider the carbon footprint you produce
Many companies will produce some kind of environmental footprint. For instance, if you are a delivery company, this would probably be one of your top priorities. You might consider using vehicles to deliver your goods that produce low emissions. You might send delivery drivers out on bikes if the distances are short ones. You might consider investing as a long term goal in electric vehicles. If you can’t do any of the above due to cost or circumstance, you may want to give back to the environment in other ways. You might commit to planting a certain number of trees, or by cleaning up a public park on a regular basis.
- Consider the packaging on your products
If you send out goods to your customers, you may find that a large amount of packaging is put to waste. It can be difficult to safely pack an item without producing some kind of a waste. However, some companies have tried to make their packaging more eco-friendly. For instance, Fruitful Office, who operate in the UK and Ireland say that they send their fruit baskets out to customers with a 99% eco-friendly rating. They use transparent wrapping and an eco-friendly wicker basket to help make their packages of fruit more environmentally friendly. They also commit to planting one fruit tree in Malawi, Africa, for every basket they sell. They proudly display this information on their website to let customers know that they are a good, eco-friendly business to work with.
- Consider helping at local events
Community spirit and involvement is very important to many businesses, especially larger businesses that may want to show their local area that there is a face behind the brand. Local carnivals, fates, and charity events are good to be a part of. You can set up a stall there, help out or even sponsor an event. Not only does this show that you are a helpful company which customers may more easily identify with, but it does help integrate your business into the wider community and even connect with other businesses in the area.