10 Reasons to Focus on Business Integrity

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While integrity has always been a key component in business and everyday life, 21st century consumers are now demanding integrity from the companies they do business with and work for.

 

Pelsmacker et al. point to the fact that consumers are beginning to demand products that are ethical and brands that conduct business with integrity.1 Products that consumers want to see made with integrity include:

    • Environmentally-friendly products
    • Products that are people-friendly, such as:
      • not made in a sweat shop
      • distributed through fair trade
      • made by companies that pay a living wage for workers
    • Products that do not violate any laws, rights or freedoms2

 

Linda Fischer Thornton, Adjunct Professor at The University of Richmond, provides an insight into 10 current trends in business ethics. She has observed:

 

1. Consumers conduct research before purchasing, choosing to support ethical businesses

2. Consumers are actively informing other purchasers online about products and companies they consider ethical or unethical

3. More consumers and businesses are “buying local”

4. Businesses are more often and more publicly being held accountable for being honest about products

5. Leaders are building collaborative problem-solving skills

6. Leaders are expected to consistently use more inclusive language

7. Sustainable business is becoming the new minimum standard

8. More businesses are putting ethics ahead of profit, moving away from adding harmful chemicals to products that would otherwise help increase profits

9. Executives are expected to show how they are being responsible leaders

10. Ethical leadership is becoming the new standard for leadership3

 

The Co-Operative Group produces a yearly report on ethical spending by consumers. Their 2012 report shows that:4

  • 50% of consumers said that would avoid a company if it had a reputation for being unethical or acting without integrity
  • Consumer boycotts related to ethical standards/reputations increased by 12.17%
  •  42% of consumers made purchases based on their ethical standards
  • 33% of consumers actively researched a company’s ethical reputation and integrity
  • 50% of consumers support businesses that conduct business with integrity

 

These trends indicate that putting integrity at the core of your business could help your business take advantage of the upswing in “ethical consumption,” and meet the demand for business accountability.


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