Business Ethics Standard

As Warren Buffet famously said, it takes years to build a reputation and five minutes to lose it. Doing the wrong thing is costly business.

The GoodCorporation Business Ethics Standard defines a framework for the responsible management of any organisation. It can be used as a guideline for establishing good practice or as an auditing framework to identify any strengths and weaknesses in practices and procedures.

Following the principles outlined in this framework, GoodCorporation has worked with over 500 organisations since 2000 to help them measure, manage and establish good corporate behaviour.

The framework can be used at head office or subsidiary level and the results can be benchmarked against industry or peer-group standards.

The principles and practices of good corporate governance should be upheld by any responsible organisation. GoodCorporation’s Business Ethics Standard provides a checklist of key business ethics and governance areas that should be monitored and reviewed at board level including anti-bribery, anti-competitive behaviour, regulatory and legislative compliance, transparent tax affairs, and whistleblowing.

Treating customers fairly should be central to any business but applies equally to both business-to-business and business-to-consumer organisations. Companies need to ensure that they have the correct systems and processes in place to ensure that the right sales culture is in place to protect the rights and interests of all customers. Such processes are addressed in the Business Ethics Standard, but also in the Treating Customers’ Fairly framework.

Businesses are more at risk from malpractice in the supply chain than in any other area of their organisation. To be properly protected, companies need to understand these risks and the steps that can be taken to implement the right principles and practices. The Business Ethics Standard provides a checklist of best practice in this challenging area. We also offer anti-corruption due diligence services

For global organisations, knowing that the highest labour standards are in place throughout the operation can be a real challenge. Companies need to check that neither their own employees nor those of any third parties, suppliers or joint venture partners are subjected to forced, bonded or otherwise exploitative labour conditions. For large UK companies, reporting on the steps taken to prevent slavery is now a legal requirement under the Modern Slavery Act.

Labour standards vary significantly across the globe, so upholding certain requirements can be challenging. Reputations, however, can be seriously damaged when any association with poor labour standards comes to light.

The Standard covers many of the challenging areas of good human resources practice including:

  • Working hours
  • Breaks
  • Maternity pay
  • Paternity pay
  • Annual leave
  • Emergency leave
  • Non-discrimination
  • Diversity
  • Harassment
  • Complaints & grievances
  • Discipline
  • Privacy
  • Religious tolerance
  • Appraisals
  • Employee consultation
  • Career development

Using the checks in the GoodCorporation Business Ethics Standard a company can ensure that the appropriate health, safety and security measures have been applied to all the relevant areas of the business. This should include measures to ensure that employees of service providers, customers, suppliers and the local community as well as employees are all considered when an organisation reviews its health and safety standards and procedures.

Companies should undertake regular high-level reviews of their environmental impact to ensure that the correct policies and procedures are in place to understand and minimise all possible impacts on the environmental. This should include monitoring the steps in place to reduce any environmental impact and reporting externally and transparently.

Organisations need to understand the true nature of any impact it might have on the communities in which it operates. Policies and procedures need to be in place to minimise any negative impact including the appropriate management of any land acquisitions or population displacement. Systems should be in place to ensure that any complaints can be heard and dealt with and community projects need to be carefully evaluated to ensure they meet the real needs of the local community.

 “At the end of the day, no matter how hard you try to self-audit, you need an external viewpoint.” Ros Baker Former HR Director, Ladbrokes

Contact us for further information.