If you subscribe to the Milton Friedman school of thought on the nature and responsibilities of a business, pursuing profit on behalf of its owners and investors is the singular purpose of a company. The market dictates everything, however, and society and modern consumers are increasingly interested in the ethical behavior and postures of businesses. With that in mind, below are 4 ways to establish yourself as an ethical business.
Show it With Your Banking
One way you can have an outsized impact on the world around you, positive or negative, is through your bank. What a person’s bank does with their money is probably not something a lot of people think about, but as a business, who you bank with can speak volumes about your views on things like social justice and environmental sustainability.
Different banks take sustainable investing and operations more seriously than others, and it is up to you as a business owner to do your research and find out which are more in line with your personal values on these issues.
Help Your Employees Go Green
Your employees are your business and if you are a business that has committed to going green as much as you can, part of that process should involve helping employees make green changes in their lives. This could include public transportation subsidies that get people out of their fossil-fuel-burning cars and onto busses and trains, as well as reimbursements for things like more energy-efficient light bulbs and windows around their homes or contributions for new bicycles they can ride to work.
You can also institute largescale office-wide changes at work that help communicate your desire to take sustainability and going green more seriously. There are many things businesses can do to eliminate wastefulness from around the office.
Partner With Charities and NGOs
If you look at many businesses’ websites, they have their philanthropic initiatives and partnerships with charitable organizations front and center on the home page of their website. If you want your customers and other stakeholders to acknowledge you as an ethical business, you have to let people know that you take corporate social responsibility seriously.
Commit to Ethical Hiring and HR Practices
Another way to position yourself as an ethical business, especially given the cultural and political changes currently sweeping Western countries, is to ensure that you are taking social justice seriously in your hiring and HR practices. This could include tweaking your recruitment processes to exclude certain personal information from applications so that you can be sure you are making bias-free hiring decisions, or through providing mentorship opportunities for minority employees.
Consumers are increasingly using their wallets to make their preferences and voices heard when it comes to corporate social responsibility and ethicality. Allegiance to the profit motive above all else is no longer acceptable in many quarters of our society, and business owners who embrace this new age of more socially and environmentally conscious spending and investing stand to gain not only goodwill but new customers by taking these demands and preferences seriously.