What are Business Ethics?

Written by Anna Li on Sunday, 30 August 2020. Posted in Business Education

Illustration by Autumn Qiu

Before starting a business, it is essential to learn about business ethics. The term refers to the implementation of “appropriate business policies and practices with regard to arguably controversial subjects” (Investopedia). Business ethics ensures that your company is built on morals and righteousness. It guarantees that strong and trusting relationships are built between customers and businesses, which not only boosts revenue and profit, but consumers’ trust as well. 

Business ethics first began in the 1960s as an idea about social responsibility. In the 1970s, philosophers,  scholars, and theologians discussed ideas and case studies that can now be found throughout business courses. Since then, business ethics have evolved and developed into a large range of “principles and values that guide how a company does business” (Lumen Learning). People started becoming more and more aware and passionate about social issues and controversial topics, which in turn began shaping business ethics. However, business ethics is not simply a right or a wrong; not only is it a moral code, but it may also be used as a competitive advantage over other competitors. 

An example of business ethics involves marketing, also known as ethical marketing. Some companies may advertise their ethical products that are natural, vegan, cruelty free, or environmentally friendly. These companies prioritize “building strong relationships with consumers through a set of shared values” (WordStream). Many of these companies have a mission statement for helping a cause around the world. For instance, Ivory Ella aims to help save elephants and donates 10% of profits to Save the Elephants and other profitable causes. Ethical marketing falls under business ethics, as it is one of the principles companies incorporate in their business strategy. 

Business ethics involves a lot of planning but will definitely be worth it from both a moral and business standpoint. Overall, it is extremely important to build a strong relationship between companies and consumers through a common medium: business ethics. 


About the Author

Anna Li

Anna Li

Anna is a Business Education Writer at Girls For Business.

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