Being ethical in business shows that you care about the impact that your business is having on the world. It is about being honest and fair in your dealings with customers and employees. While some ethical practises are enforced by law, others are optional, so many businesses are a lot less ethical than others.
While small and independent businesses tend to have great ethics, businesses of all sizes can benefit from a review. Making changes to become more sustainable and fair can take time, but the positive impacts are well worth it.
Not only this but being ethical is something that consumers are increasingly interested in when making a purchase. 60% of consumers claimed to be making more ethical or environmentally friendly purchases since the start of the pandemic. So, being ethical in your business can do good not only for people and the planet, but can improve your reputation and boost your earnings.
What does it mean to be ethical in business?
Being ethical means caring about the moral impact of your business, and taking responsibility for the effect your business has on the wider world. It’s about making decisions that are sustainable. This means meeting our own needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.
Ethics and business are often perceived as being incompatible. Sustainability means consuming less and not purchasing things that we don’t need. So, how can a company that wants to sell as many products as possible be sustainable?
It is entirely possible for businesses across all industries to be ethical and sustainable by taking accountability for their actions. With the right approach, we can all ensure that our businesses are making the world a better place.
Why is it important to be ethical?
Increasing public awareness about the severity of the climate crisis and poor working conditions means that businesses cannot afford to make poor ethical choices. With the climate crisis already having consequences for people, wildlife, and ecosystems across the world, it is no wonder that consumers are attempting to do good through their purchases.
Making unethical decisions can spell disaster for PR, by painting your business in a negative light and breaking consumer trust. Even companies that pride themselves on being ethical can come under scrutiny, so it’s important to be transparent about your company’s ethics so that your consumers know that they can trust you.
Being transparent might mean incorporating your ethical principles in your marketing strategy. You could:
- Blog about your ethical commitments
- Include sustainability information on your packaging
- Release a sustainability and ethics report online.
How can being ethical benefit my business?
If you still aren’t convinced that being ethical is worth investing time in, then you should consider the ways in which good ethics can boost your sales and increase your productivity, all while making a positive impact.
Improve your business’ reputation
With consumers being increasingly ethically conscious, failing to make ethical decisions can have a poor impact on your business’ reputation, with potential customers opting for your more ethically minded competitors. 21% of people would actively choose brands who made their sustainability credentials clear in their marketing. So, ood ethics can be a valuable part of your business’ marketing strategy.
For example, BrewDog are planting a 2,000 acre forest in Scotland in a bid to become carbon negative. On a more local level, Make it Wild in Northallerton is doing the same. This initiative, while doing amazing things for the environment, has also secured national media coverage.
Of course, most businesses don’t have the budget to plant a whole forest. But you can make an impact locally, by investing your money in local causes or taking on a smaller project. Here at Little Seed Group, we are proud to financially support various hedgehog rescues across Yorkshire and fostering hedgehogs on the road to recovery.
The Guardian has found that 42% of workers and 62% of millennials want to work for a company that makes a positive impact on the world. Creating an environment where employees feel like they are making a difference can boost productivity too. 36% of people said they would work harder if they knew that their company was helping society.
Being ethical extends to decision-making within your business. Creating an inclusive environment will help employees to thrive.
Being sustainable doesn’t cost the earth (pun intended) and can save you money in some areas. Saving on bills can save your money and the planet:
- Switch to energy efficient bulbs
- Change to a renewable energy supplier
- Improve your building’s insulation
- Install water-saving measures
How can businesses be more ethical?
Though we have covered some key ways in which you can be more ethical in your business above, there is always more you can do to improve.
Monitoring your supply chains
While you can only control how your own employees are treated, you can also choose to only work with ethical companies in your supply chain. For example, a clothing brand could choose to source organic, GOTS certified cotton, to ensure that farmers are paid a fair wage and that their communities aren’t negatively impacted by pesticides.
This could mean reducing the amount of packaging you use on your products. Be wary of packaging that claims to be biodegradable, as often it can still take years to break down so can pollute habitats, causing injury to wildlife.
Another great way to reduce waste is to ensure you reuse or repurpose any offcuts of materials from your products to make new ones. One example would be to use leftover fabric from trousers to make purses or other accessories. Initiatives like this have the added bonus of bringing in more profit!
Being ethical is not only important for people and the planet but is an increasingly important part of any business’ PR and marketing efforts. Ethics are a part of every aspect of business, so there are countless ways we can all try to make a difference.
Looking to promote your business’ ethics through PR or marketing? Get in touch with us today to find out how our award-winning services can help your business grow, thrive, and blossom sustainably.