BEING ETHICAL – WHY IT’S IMPORTANT FOR YOUR BUSINESS
These days, your customers expect more from you. From the service you provide, to the products you sell, and now even when your products are sourced – consumers are demanding higher and higher ethical standards from the companies they buy from. But should companies expect more from themselves? Our MD Darren Cohen gives his thoughts on driving a sustainable and ethical business and how he has created a culture at Creative Emporium where the whole team are encouraged to maintain published standards but to also seek out new areas for improvement.
The recent scandal of the feminism campaign t-shirts “made in a sweatshop” has been all over recent news. In a nutshell, it has been alleged that a pro-feminist campaign group has been selling campaign t-shirts with the message “This is what a feminist t-shirt looks like” – that were made in a Mauritius sweatshop – by underpaid women at just 62p per hour. Talk about bad publicity! As it happens, the claims were refuted. However, stories like this have brought light to the fact that all of us should do our research on the companies we buy from, especially if our own personal or corporate ethics are in support of specific ethical standards.
n general, customer expectations are rising. They expect your company to have:
Corporate Social Responsibility
- No invasion of privacy
- A focus on minimising your company’s carbon footprint
Ethical financial processes and activities
- No insider trading
- No creative accounting
- No kickbacks, or anything else that looks like bribery
Ethical human resources management
- No sexism, racism, ageism or other discrimination
- Adhering to health and safety legislation
Ethical sales and marketing
- Open and transparent pricing
- No high pressure sales techniques that are not in the customer’s best interests
- No subliminal messaging or misleading advertising
- Always providing reliable and informed information to help the customer make the best choice
Ethical production processes
- Minimising pollution during production
- Never use child labour, and never buying goods from anyone who does
- Never covering up if defective goods have been supplied
- Never testing products on animals
We expect more from ourselves.
Yes, customers expect more from the companies they buy from. But as a company, ethical trading is an ethos wechoose to follow – not one we feel obliged to. “It’s a choice we made right from the start, as a company and as an employer, to always be transparent and ethical in our operations with our employees, customers and suppliers alike. This approach not only makes sense ethically, but commercially too; and we expect the best from ourselves and the partners we work with. We believe that expecting more from your business should be the norm, not the exception – not as a reactive ‘kneejerk’ reaction to increasing standards”, explains our MD Darren Cohen.
As a business, we’re proactive in our approach to ethical trading, and that goes throughout our supply chain. We’ve implemented several actions to protect both ourselves and our clients from ethical sourcing risks, says Darren: “We know how important it is to source products and services from ethical sources and we ensure we have an open and honest approach with everyone”.
To bring our ethos to life and formalise our standards, we’ve implemented several policies for the company to adhere to. These act as a guide for all our employees as well as our external suppliers. These range from Ethical Purchasing to Human Rights and Corporate Social Responsibility policies.
Sure, we know what you’re thinking: “Policies are great and all, but how do you do it on a daily basis?” We operate a practical approach to proactively reducing our ethical sourcing risk, including:
- Factory Visits – with first time suppliers to discuss service levels and ensure they adhere to our strict policies
- SEDEX – we’re members of SEDEX, the ethical supply chain database. We see it as one of our responsibilities as a supplier to constantly strive to improve our ethical credentials and see being a member of SEDEX an important step in meeting that objective
- SMETA Report – for any suppliers operating outside of the UK, we request a SMETA report before we will work with the supplier. The report is a comprehensive document that covers all areas regarding human rights and ethical purchasing
- Accreditation – we have ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 accreditation giving clients the added assurance they are working with a trusted and established supplier
Complete Branding Solution
We’re experts in providing the complete ethical branding solution for our clients, so please get in touch today to discuss your branding requirements and how we can help you ensure that a positive brand experience is reflected at every touch point – from your promotional products through to your corporate clothing and website – through an ethical distributor. Call us on 08707 500057 or drop us a line by email.