What is an ethical business?
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“Creative Media is an ethical business.” There; it’s very easy to say and it has become yet another buzzword to attract customers. What does ‘ethical business’ really mean when you’re talking about a media production / consultancy company? Media companies (on the whole) don’t run sweatshops, rent out slums or sell guns. So what does it mean?
For me, ‘ethical’ means a lot of things, small but important:
- Customer relations: An ethical business is realistic and honest about deadlines. It doesn’t cover up or blame others if things go wrong. It doesn’t take on too many jobs to handle. It focuses on the work, not the money. It trusts you and expects to be trusted in return. It charges a fair price. It doesn’t blind you with science. It shares secrets and shows you how to get the best value for money. It doesn’t keep back files and media to force you to keep on paying.
- Professional standards: Ethical businesses pay for the software they use, and never steal other people’s work. You won’t find the video you’ve paid for has to be taken offline because it contains uncleared media. They pay their bills and pay their taxes.
- Social and environmental impact: Ethical businesses are ethical throughout. The manufacture of electronic equipment inevitably involves sweatshops and environmental damage, so they buy second hand equipment to reduce this impact. They reduce, repair, re-use, re-purpose and recycle and pass the financial savings on to you. Ethical businesses use sustainable power, local web hosting companies and co-op ISPs rather than shareholder ones. They use zero or low carbon transport. They are choosy about who they work for and what they’re willing to do.
- Where the money goes: What happens to the money when you pay the invoice? Does it do good or harm? Ethical businesses owners keep their money in ethical banks. Their lifestyle means that profits are spent supporting local businesses, charities, organic food and as low-impact a lifestyle as is practical in the West.
Creative Media is an ethical business.
- Paddy Uglow, February 2014