Many corporations around the world are working hard on finding solutions to the common social, economic and environmental problems of an urbanizing world. It demonstrates the practical ways in which communities, governments and the private sector are working together to improve governance, eradicate poverty, provide access to shelter, land and basic services, protect the environment and support economic development. Some great examples of corporations that are deeply committed to environmental sustainability and nature protection are Target Corporation, eBay, Kohls, Groupon, Boscov's and many others. All these companies deserve to be awarded for its contribution to the protection of the environment. For example, Target is known for its active position in building healthy communities and has been integrating sustainable practices across all aspects of the business operations. Target is a leader in promoting healthy living by offering reusable shopping bags and recycling kiosks in its stores.
Another company that can be called a Green Giant is eBay, which activity is based on the key principle of reusing products. eBay is actively promoting the idea of consuming used stuff to protect the environment as well as sets an example of introducing green practices throughout the company, like installing solar roof panels in its headquarters and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions.
Recognized with a 2013 ENERGY STAR Sustained Excellence Award, Kohl's is also deeply committed to decreasing its footprint and environmental impact. Kohl's Cares initiatives include recycling as much material as possible as well as constructing a number of ENERGY STAR labeled stores, with features designed to minimize waste and use less water and energy.
The Best Practices and Local Leadership Programme (BLP) research environmental initiatives and solutions the social institutions and corporations undertake to leave a better world for coming generations. The Best Practices and Local Leadership Programme (BLP) is a global network of institutions dedicated to the identification and exchange of successful solutions for sustainable development.
The BLP partners' network identifies initiatives in such areas as housing, urban development and governance, the environment, economic development, social inclusion, crime prevention, poverty reduction, women, youth, infrastructure and social services.
Many companies outline their commitment to environmental and social initiatives as well as their priorities and values in a code of ethics. In fact, a well written code of ethics can help your business prevent serious legal problems in case one of your employees or partners sues you.
A code of ethics refers to a set of company rules, principles and practices that a given company is committed to adhering to and believes in. A code of business ethics is typically closely related to company's mission statement and specific in-house rules of conduct and is designed to inform employees, partners, suppliers, and outsiders about the ethic principles the company supports and how the company employees should behave. It focuses on the company's objectives for social responsibility. At the same time a code of ethics should be quite specific to provide guidelines to employees without narrowing down particular rules for every possible situation.
For example, the company's code of ethics may stipulate that the company doesn't partner with vendors who pollute the environment, use child labor, discriminate during the hiring process, and do not condemn bribes. For example, when Ikea was opening their first store in Russia, they were requested to give a payoff to local authorities to turn their utilities on. As Ikea condemns bribery they refused to give the bribe and searched for other means of solving the problem they confronted with. They managed to leased power generators to get their location lit up in time for is grand opening.
In fact, a code of ethics deals with corporate culture. Many small businesses do have a code of ethics, but it is not written on the paper. However it is a mistake to think that a small business doesn't need a code of ethics. With no written code of ethics a business is exposed to great risk and should there be an unfortunate incident, it may even confront with legal troubles.
The first thing the company should do when setting a code of ethics is to figure out what values are really important to it. The small business owner should ask himself what he and his employees should never do at this company to attract a customer, retain a customer or ensure the company's financial reports meet the projected numbers. The answers to these questions will provide the framework for the code being designed.
When the business expands and the company team becomes larger it is important that new employees do follow the company's policies. So having a written code of business ethics will ensure that everyone in your company is aware of the things that matter. So it is the job of human resource managers to educate just hired workers about the corporate culture.
Often it may be difficult to balance between too elusive and too specific rules of your company's code of ethics. Employees may even resent the rules that are too harsh. It is wrong for the company to include crackdowns on small details in its code of ethics as it can create a hostile atmosphere. Start working with your employees from addressing the big issues and then they will realize themselves without any pressure from the top how they need to behave in the more specific situations.
Some ethical problems have bigger impact on a small business than on a larger corporation. For example, for a small company the rule prohibiting romantic relationship at workplace is a must. Another ethical challenge that can have negative consequences for a small business is nepotism. When you start your business nepotism may take place as you employ or partner with those people you know and trust. It is a matter of concern for family-run businesses as an ethical mistake can cause employee dissatisfaction or even lead to a discrimination suit.
You may consult a lawyer about what policies and practices are legal or illegal and what can be argued in court but a lawyer is not actually an expert in ethic issues. If you have a small company with less than 20 employees you can draft a code yourself, especially if you are working in a low-risk, low-liability field. For a company with over 20 employees, it's advisable to consult a specialist in business ethics or human resources.