What Does an Ethical Company Look Like?
When considering whether a company is ethical, there are several aspects to consider including its product, production pipeline, culture, and community involvement. In all of these areas, a company’s main goal should be to improve the quality of life for those it impacts.
When considering the product, some personal preference will inevitably be involved. Personal interests may dictate the product to a certain extent, but regardless of which area of specialization your product falls under, some options will inevitably be more ethical than others. Other than opting to not work on vaporware, it may be difficult to discern whether the company’s product is “ethical” – how does one determine whether a healthcare company wants to change and improve the healthcare system or exploit it? This is why examining the production pipeline, culture, and any community involvement is important.
The Production Pipeline
The production pipeline gives a lot of insight into whether a company is ethical. The ideal company would choose green and renewable resources whenever possible. It would also consider its impact on communities when building offices and production facilities. For example, people assume that new Amazon warehouses are good for communities. However, the effect is actually lower wages and no increase in jobs. Building a new facility might be unavoidable – Amazon can’t expand its network without building new facilities. However, an ethical company will take steps to reduce or eliminate any negative effects it has on communities, meaning that in this case, Amazon would need to raise its wages.
A company’s culture is often a reflection of its business practices. People who are passionate about their jobs and desire to use them to benefit the world in some way are going to work at places that facilitate ethical practices (and vice versa). The ideal culture would be inclusive, diverse, friendly, and full of passionate workers. If people aren’t passionate about the products they’re working on, they are more likely to make ethical decisions, whereas if a company has employees that aren’t passionate about their work, they’re more likely to make mistakes, cut corners, or partake in other unethical practices.
Community involvement is as important as a company’s culture. During my internship, I was able to volunteer at the Ronald McDonald House of Hope, and my work regularly offers volunteer opportunities that can be counted as work hours. This policy provides positive community impact and demonstrates the company’s values, while giving employees a stronger sense of purpose and promoting a positive company culture.
The Ideal Company
So far, I’ve gone over the aspects that should be considered when evaluating the ethicalness of a company. If I started a tech company, my product would have a mission: to help fix the healthcare system, which is costly, inefficient, and struggling to catch up technologically. It would be environmentally conscious with every aspect of its production pipeline, but most importantly, it would have a positive company culture that encouraged inclusiveness, passion, and community involvement. While in theory an ethical company like this sounds wonderful, it might be difficult to implement, especially when starting out with limited resources.
Schiller, Ben, and Ben Schiller. “What Happens When An Amazon Warehouse Opens? Lower Wages, No Increase In Jobs.” Fast Company, Fast Company, 5 Feb. 2018, www.fastcompany.com/40525961/what-happens-when-an-amazon-warehouse-opens-lower-wages-no-new-jobs.