Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Ethical Business Is Good Business Practice

Most entrepreneurs have the best intentions when starting a business. However, there are a lot of terrible businessmen and women out there. No one is perfect, but the world is filled with people who don’t return phone calls, misrepresent their capabilities, cheat their clients, steal from their shareholders and in general, those who over-promise and under-deliver.

Businesses should be accountable, transparent and responsible to their clients, suppliers and employees alike. This is just good business practice.

A business can never succeed in the long run if they lie, fail to take responsibility, or are disrespectful of others and their environment. In short, a business must be true to its word. These are the hallmarks of good business practice, and consequently ethical business. To many, the two go hand in hand.

Creative Wonders considers itself an ethical advertising agency for those very reasons. It is an agency that follows, as closely as possible, the 4 agreements:

1. Be impeccable with your word – don’t lie or make promises you can’t keep
2. Don’t make assumptions
3. Don’t take anything personally
4. Always do your best

It is a simple, but effective manifesto for a solid business.

In recent years, social-consciousness has become a buzzword, and ethical business practice more lip service than a philosophy. The strong demand for accountability and transparency from the Enrons, Exxons and Nikes 80s and 90s has left a certain demand for corporations to be responsible and honest with the public.

Ethical, sustainable, socially-conscious and organic became words and stale and co-opted as Extreme and Fresh and New and Improved. Basically, they stopped meaning anything.

This is something that Creative Wonders is up against constantly. Diane Lund, owner and Creative Director of the company has been working the Cultural Creative angle for 13 years because it closely reflects her own personal belief system. This was before the trend really took off.

Ethical business to those at Creative Wonders means maintaining honest and accountable business practice with everyone they interact with, from suppliers to clients to fellow staff.

Businesses that should be commended for walking the talk of ethical business practice are Ethical Funds, who have recently launched a website for ethical and sustainable living makeadifferencenow.ca and 1-800-GOT-JUNK who are reputed for having one of the best benefits programs for their employees in Canada.


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