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What is Ethical Business?


With the seemingly rapid deterioration of the environment and the endless bad news about labor exploitation, including the exploitation of young children in some parts of the world, many people these days ask themselves – how can I establish a morally-grounded business? What kinds of mindset, values, behaviors and attitudes should I hold on to? These are very important questions to ask to oneself when starting an ethical enterprise. It is crucial to think about sustainability; however sustainability should also mean decency, fairness, and honesty.

According to David Hagenbuch, a professor of Marketing at Messiah College, if one wants a guiltless business, it is important to hold integrity as one of its highest standards. This means one is open about what his business does and is able to show everything what the public needs to see without shame and fear. Honesty, as what Hagenbuch is trying to suggest, is a vital factor for a truly successful enterprise. This also means your business should not deceive people by using inaccurate projection to look attractive just to draw attention and positive feedback. He means that in promoting your services, creativity is important but this should also be used in a forthright yet genuine manner. Deceitful fabrication, as Hagenbuch suggests, will only ruin your company’s reputation in the long run.    

To understand more about these suggestions, one can also take these “dilemma scenarios” presented by the EU Science Hub – Joint Research Centre as examples. In facing challenges, one can ask himself – what should be the right thing to do? Is this action legal or will it break the law? Is it socially allowed or should you just don’t care? Is it morally upright or an act of corruption? Will you benefit without compromising others? Is it fair to all parties involved? These are just some of the questions one needs to ask to himself to establish and develop a strong ethical underpinning for a business – for people, for the planet, and for a “clean” profit.

Speaking about the planet or nature, how can a business protect and wok for its sustainability? We all know that endless growth is one of the major causes of our depleting finite natural resources. According to Hagenbuch’s idea, the company should intelligently come up with efficient strategies and wasteful consumption should not be tolerated.  The business should only take not more than what they need and show this virtue as an example to the customers. Environmental sustainability should be the company’s main concern, according to what Hagenbuch is trying to convey; a business should only execute properly brainstormed ideas to avoid destroying the environment.    

So these are some of the important points David Hagenbuch is trying to point out for people starting an organization, big o small, to exist and thrive along with the customers without compromising both humans and nature in general. As what Hagenbuch has tried to elaborate on his many writings – actively participating in ecological stewardship, practicing fairness, and preserving integrity are very essential things to an organization for it to maintain efficient long-term schemes for acquiring profit while also conserving society’s well-being.

To learn more about David Hagenbuch’s ideas for ethical and mindful marketing, visit his website:          


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