Business ethics are about doing the right thing across the whole of the business. Behaving ethically can make a significant difference to stakeholders’ and customers’ perceptions of a company, enhancing corporate reputation, improving efficiency and increasing customer loyalty. Ethical behaviour may, for example, relate to how workers are treated, how products are made or the impact a business has on the environment.
For example, Tata Steel, part of the Tata Group of companies, focuses its approach to business ethics on its commitment to sustainable and responsible practices within its technology and production processes.
From a different ethical perspective, the global technology company, Apple, has published a list of its suppliers for the first time. (BBC, 16th January 2012)
Apple has so far kept details of its supply chain secret but releases this information as it looks to head off criticism over how workers are treated. The company said it has increased its inspection of factories in a bid to ensure proper working conditions for suppliers' employees.
Through audits at different factories over the past year, Apple uncovered cases of non-compliance of labour rights, including exceeding working hour limits and use of underage workers. Apple said that it was working closely with its suppliers to ensure that these issues were sorted out and was supporting the education of the suppliers' employees about their rights. By tackling these issues, Apple will demonstrate its commitment to ethical standards.
Tata Steel believes that sustainability is compatible with profitable business and its strategies aim to balance the economic, social and environmental impacts of the business. It invests effort and resources to develop new products that generate lower emissions throughout the product life cycle, devise new technologies for producing low-carbon steels and lead by example within the global steel industry.
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