In Big brands acting ethically, I mentioned companies like Volkswagen, Wells Fargo and United Airlines who should have behaved better. They didn’t and suffered the consequences.
But what does it actually mean to act ethically?
The ISO 26000 societal responsibility standard includes ethical behaviour as one of its 8 principles. ISO 26000 provides guidance and helps clarify what social responsibility is. The standard was launched in 2010 following five years of negotiations between representatives from government, NGOs, industry, consumer groups and labour organisations around the world. It is the best representation of what social responsibility is and what ‘behaving ethically’ means.
It defines ethical behaviour as “behaviour that is in accordance with accepted principles of right or good conduct in the context of a particular situation…”
An organisation should only claim that it is acting ethically when it has addressed all of the following:
How well does your organisation do against these 11 areas?
It is a pity that the company officers at Volkswagen, Wells Fargo and United Airlines didn’t ask themselves this question before taking the action they did.
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