Ethics can be profitable too

It was interesting to see ethics placed at the heart of the April 26 edition of Marketing Week.

Ethics and corporate social responsibility are certainly topical. Not a day goes by without another company or industry coming under the spotlight and facing criticism from external commentators.

A challenge facing all companies is how to handle single-issue pressure groups. Far too often, a responsible company is judged in depth on its performance in one area, completely ignoring the wider contribution being made to social and environmental well-being.

However, companies can do more to help the outside world understand them better. In our experience, companies do take social responsibilities seriously, but what is often lacking is a comprehensive policy, together with a systematic framework to measure and manage what they do. Without a holistic framework it is hard for any organisation to understand where its fields of excellence may lie and, importantly, to start to identify the gaps that may become vulnerabilities.

Why bother? A better understanding of the market can be the reward for companies that have responded positively to the social responsibility challenge.

Peter Hughes

Director

The SMART Company

London W1

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