Corporate Ethics and Responsibility
Businesses have not just to maximize profit but also to be good corporate citizens. This is a moral obligation that some companies take more seriously than others. While the ethical implications of business practices have been debated for centuries, the 21st century has seen a significant increase in the focus on responsible business practices, with organizations taking responsibility for their impacts on society and democracy. These businesses often adopt sustainability initiatives and other green policies to minimize or mitigate the harm caused by their operations.
This heightened interest in ethical and sustainable business practices has come about through several factors. Jordan Sudberg believes that the rise of social networking and peer-to-peer sharing has made consumers more aware and holds organizations accountable for their actions. Citizens are also better-informed than ever before, with information only one Internet search away. And the rise of business information has led to a more informed public.
Corporate responsibility typically refers to an extensive range of activities that a company undertakes: from corporate citizenship and philanthropy to community relations, employee relations, and public benefits. Many companies have adopted global sustainability agendas, with many now adopting more ethical business practices for their future viability.
Ethical business practices are not just about doing what is best for the environment or society; they are also about doing what is best for shareholders and other stakeholders in the long run. This is because ethical companies may be more successful during the economic downturn and thus more likely to create valuable assets for investors and owners. Conversely, unethical businesses can exact a high cost on their stakeholders.
It is essential to consider the broader context of business ethics in society to establish a clear link between individual behavior and corporate responsibility. Ethics are both universal and contextual; they are not just about the company operating in a particular country or market. Ethics also change over time because of the way we live and work. The impacts of business output on society and its public also vary from country to country and from industry to industry. According to Jordan Sudberg, ethics are not only a “central concern” of business ethics courses but are also “a vital part of the process by which business ethics is shaped into academic philosophy.”
Most businesses have a responsibility to provide a safe workplace and minimize the risks associated with their operations. Every industry has different requirements for health and safety management systems. Fortunately, these requirements are becoming more aligned and standardized. According to Sudberg, equal opportunities are the right of all people to fair treatment in the workplace, regardless of sex, race, color or religion; these rights apply equally to the companies that operate in different countries. Some organizations adopt equal pay and flexible working hours to attract talent from other industries.
An essential aspect of ethics is the need for corporate leaders and managers to promote well-being among their employees. Some people work in temporary jobs, but this does not mean they have a lower quality of life than full-time employees. Many temporary workers are highly productive and have strong moral claims for their benefit.