Zero Tolerance For Unethical Conduct
We are in the midst of unprecedented change, even bigger than the Industrial Revolution. Due to technological advances this world is becoming always more interconnected. Globalization has become a ‘thing’ and there is closer integration of countries and people all over the world, resulting from reduced transportation and communication costs. Unfortunately however, with it come many problems that cross national boundaries such as terrorism, disease, refugees, environmental problems, and fast flow of capital. Now, more than ever, we need to have a social conscience in the international trade environment.
The concept that a business should look after it’s own interests with little regard for others, has created the environment where profit is the “holy grail”, employees are unimportant and that everything is done with the sole objective of increased quarterly earnings. The truth is though, that people, and countries for that matter, do business with people they respect and trust. This is where ethics come into it.
Ethics are back!
You all have ethics in your personal lives, so why should we check our ethics at the door when it comes to work? Ethics come in many forms and a particular area of concern is environmental ethics. There has been growing importance of “green ethics” with places such as Canada, Europe and Asia rating environmental issues higher than other issues. Air pollution for example costs the US economy over $182 billion a year with effects ranging from health issues to decreased timber and agriculture yields, reduced visibility, accelerated depreciation of materials, and a depletion of recreational areas. The People First Party will address this by introducing harsher biodiversity regulations to ensure sustainability, long-term financial viability, hence also projecting an environmentally conscious global profile.
Take the Volkswagen emissions scandal as an example. In December of 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that many German VW cars being sold in America had a “defeat device” which ‘fudged’ their performance results, all the while emitting nitrogen oxygen pollutants of up to 40 times above the US allowed level. Volkswagen recalled millions of cars as a result and will most likely be fined $37,500 for each vehicle that breaches standards, but perhaps the biggest cost to them has been the loss of consumer trust. They lost our respect!
America needs to learn form this and be seen to be doing the right thing, not only by its own citizens but also by the rest of the world. In fact, a survey conducted by the Human Resource Institute (HRI) and commissioned by American Management Association (AMA) indicated that globalization will be the number one business driver of ethics in 10 years time. Integrity, trust, service and accountability are key elements that we will be demanding of businesses in our code of conduct if we are elected.
How can we do this? Lets take Starbucks as a great example. They have recently been named one of the world’s most ethical companies by the Ethisphere Institute. They have gained this integrity and respect by actively trying to do the right thing:
- They ethically source sustainable products.
- They pioneer sustainable products in the environment.
- They create pathways to opportunities in the community.
- They encourage service and citizenship.
- They care for and treat their staff with respect.
The People First Party affirms that, as Starbucks has proven, commitment to social responsibility will attract company support and therefore also profitable growth. We are committed to achieving this by working with businesses and employees with a focus on the following:
- Ethical codes – companies should have statements of standards which guide their behaviour
- Ethical training – training employees to identify and discuss ethical dilemmas that arise in their working environment.
- Government regulation – Putting the law behind ethical requirements
- Encouraging whistleblowing – Protecting and rewarding whistle blowers when they uncover unethical corporate behaviour.
- Reforming Boards of Management – Giving shareholder power or worker representation on boards could encourage more ethical behaviour.
- Transparency – The Company should be required to publish data about its operations and make it available to the public.
We are a world of citizens with moral compasses, and by doing the right thing by our fellow Americans and by those abroad, we will not only experience growth through our own people but we will attract foreign investors too.
I believe that America should be open, free, safe and have a decent quality of life for all. Our State institutions and private sector should be ethical, transparent and accountable to its citizens. As a first step, it is essential to have a strong and committed leader who will set an example and create a culture of integrity with zero tolerance for unethical conduct. The People First party are ready for this challenge.