An Ethical Business

Redbean is in the business of organisational improvement – improvement that makes organisations successful, healthier and wealthier for all who come into contact with them – for customers, staff, partners, investors, community and the environment.

All individuals and organisations work within an ethical framework – either self, community or legislation imposed. Recent institutional failures of adherence to such frameworks include classic cases such as Enron, Lehman Brothers, News of the World, and the major Churches. It also includes companies and industry sectors that exist in the very fuzzy (yet they will always argue legal) territory such as tobacco, alcohol, fast food, arms manufacturers and newer players such as Coal Seam Gas miners. Many of these companies exploit individuals, other organisations, communities, nations and the environment for profit and individual gain. Nothing wrong with that. What makes these organisations unethical is that they do it without regard for the wellbeing of whom they exploit.

Unethical behaviour is not just driven by greed but can be carried out for reasons such as protecting reputation, pursuing an ideology, hiding incompetence, a conflict of interest, or deeper criminal activity and so on. Unsustainable behaviour includes exhaustive use and waste of valuable resources and energy that contribute to global warming and reduce biodiversity. Yet sustainability also includes supporting concepts such as democracy, human rights, diversity and integrity while not giving into corruption and favouritism – anywhere in the world.

Background information and ongoing discussion on the broader topic of ethics, corporate social responsibility and environmental sustainability can be found at – http://www.ethics.org.au or http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporate_social_responsibility or http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sustainability .

As a business Redbean has developed its own framework of ethics, values and social responsibility. It would be a breach of our integrity to then work with and receive payment from organisations or industry sectors we believed did not demonstrate a similar set of values.

Having said that we are always happy to discuss corporate ethics, social responsibility and environmental sustainability, and how to improve them, with any organisation. A good example of an organisation that seeks to educate, motivate and activate change within ‘unethical’ business is The Forest Trust ( http://www.tft-forests.org ).

It is critical for organisations to act ethically, responsibly and sustainably while seeking and providing economic security. However wealth should also be measured in the richness of our relationships, confidence in our institutions and the enjoyment of our environment. That may require a change to our current exploitation and manipulation thinking and probably a more intelligent recognition and reward system than just joining the rich list. Riches at the expense of other people’s and the planet’s wellbeing is not a long term strategy.

We also invite other companies to join us in developing an ethical and sustainable approach to business. Whether you focus on profit or other measures of success and you are interested in exploring a different approach to building a successful organisation please contact us for a chat.

Paul McKey