Upholding Ethical Standards: A Crucial Imperative for Sustainable Business Success

Authored by: Gregory Bertly Josefano (BE ‘20)

There is a saying in the business world: “Ethics is knowing the difference between what you have a right to do and what is right to do”

In the late 1980s, energy drinks were becoming vastly popular among nightclubs and partygoers. This was one of the issues faced by Red Bull during the early founding of their business; the market for energy drinks was becoming increasingly popular with alternatives. How could Red Bull stand out from the crowd? Well with a truly unorthodox approach.

Picture this: London’s rubbish bins are filled with empty cans of Red Bull, free samples being given to nightclub DJs, and insurmountable empty cans left lying outside of clubs.

The goal: to create an illusion of popularity. With so many empty Red Bull cans floating around, people would automatically assume that Red Bull was THE energy drink of choice. 

However, despite the significant popularity of this guerrilla marketing tactic, many considered it unethical due to the aftermath it left in its wake. The marketing campaign resulted in severe environmental pollution and uncleanliness in the surrounding areas, such as neighborhoods and city walks.

In the dynamic landscape of any industry, the success of a business is measured not solely by profit margins and market share. Like proper financial management and marketing, ethics has become an integral business function, with shareholders and consumers recognizing that integrity and responsibility are indispensable to long-term success. But why? In this section, we will explore the reasons why business ethics is crucial for firms and future business professionals.

Some of the key reasons why ethical standards are important include:

  1. Trust: Ethical business practices are instrumental in building trust among customers, employees, and stakeholders. When a company operates with integrity and transparency, it fosters a sense of trust that is essential for sustainable relationships.
  2. Reputation: Maintaining a positive reputation is crucial for overall business success. Ethical conduct contributes significantly to upholding a positive image in the marketplace, thereby help increased customer loyalty and, consequently, greater profitability
  3. Risk: Adherence to ethical standards helps in risk reduction, protecting businesses from potential legal and financial consequences associated with unethical behavior.
  4. Talent: Ethical business practices are instrumental in attracting and retaining top talent. Employees are more inclined to work for companies that prioritize integrity, creating a positive work environment and contributing to the overall success of the organization.

Ensuring adherence to ethical standards stands as a fundamental necessity for achieving lasting success in business. The cultivation of ethical business practices plays a pivotal role in establishing trust among customers, employees, and stakeholders. This trust, in turn, contributes to maintaining a positive reputation within the marketplace, mitigating risks associated with unethical behavior. Furthermore, the commitment to ethical standards serves as a magnet for attracting and retaining top talent, fostering a work environment that values integrity. Embracing ethical business practices not only generates long-term value for companies but also plays a vital role in contributing to a more sustainable and responsible futur

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