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The Economics, Business & Enterprise Association The Professional Subject Association for Teachers and Lecturers of Economics, Business and Enterprise BTEC National Unit 38 – Understanding business ethics So exactly what do we mean by business ethics? If you have watched the Spiderman movies you will have heard Peter Parker say that “with great power comes great responsibility” and in the 2007 movie we are told that “we are defined by the choices we make”. We have choices, businesses have choices, and these choices always have consequences. Each set of consequences requires evaluation in advance so that the likely impacts can be assessed. Simple stuff, really. Business ethics is about reflecting on the extent to which businesses operate within a system of morals; e.g. knowing and acting according to what you believe is good, and taking others into consideration. There are benefits and drawbacks of businesses operating ethically and certain business practices may be considered acceptable or unacceptable from the standpoint of particular stakeholders. For example, if a business stops making products that are harmful to the environment, what are the implications for the employees who may lose their jobs? This then affects the shareholders when they do not receive a return on their investments. It also affects the supply chain as supplier businesses are affected. Issues under the umbrella of business ethics are categorised as: Corporate social responsibility Environmental sustainability Corporate social responsibility covers issues such as business practices, human rights, working conditions, trading fairly CSR is about how companies manage the business processes to produce an overall positive impact on society. (Mallen Baker, Founding Director, Business Respect). © EBEA | December 10 | 1 of 2 The Economics, Business & Enterprise

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