Ethical Business Is Good Business

Updated: May 19, 2021

In the research study, "Does Business Ethics Pay?" by The Institute of Business Ethics (IBE), it was found that companies displaying a "clear commitment to ethical conduct" consistently outperform companies that do not display ethical conduct. The Director of IBE, Philippa Foster Black, stated: "Not only is ethical behaviour in business life the right thing to do in principle, but we have also shown that it pays off in financial returns.”

As local businesses often have closer relationships with their customers it is even more important to run an ethical operation.

Here are some of our top tips on how to run an ethical local business:


“We have to dare to be ourselves, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be.”

Being authentic means staying true to who you are and what you do. Authentic businesses have a clear purpose and live their values everyday.


“To be trusted is a greater compliment than being loved.”

Customers want to do business with a company they can trust; when trust is at the core of a company, it's easy to recognise. Trust defined, is assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, and truth of business.

Be Open-Minded

“A mind is like a parachute. It doesn't work if it is not open.”

Continuous improvement requires leadership to have an open mind. Ask for feedback from both customers and colleagues and your company will continue to grow, and grow in the right way.

Inclusive Culture

"Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance,"

An inclusive culture indicates a climate in where, equality and positive recognition of differences are embraced, and the social and institutional response to disability poses no barrier to a positive employment experience. Nurturing an inclusive culture will also mean your local business is more creative and better at solving complex problems.


“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”

Acting with kindness is imperative for local businesses. Being kind to your customers, your employees, your competitors and yourself demonstrates and even enhances your own sense of integrity. It also helps people feel secure and understand what behaviour you expect of them.


“Don't be reliable only when it's convenient.”

Regardless of the circumstances, do everything in your power to gain the trust of past customers and clients, particularly if something has gone awry. Reclaim any lost business by honouring all commitments and obligations.

Community Involvement

"The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members."

Get involved in community-related issues and activities, demonstrating that your business is more than just a business it is part of the fabric of the community. Get involved with community events and support local causes that are close to your heart.

Supply Chain

"Integrity has no need of rules."

Ethical businesses work with other ethical businesses. So you must ensure your supply chain holds the same ethical standards that you do. Take the time to make sure you are working with brands that you would be proud to share a platform with.


“It can take 20 years to build a reputation and only five minutes to ruin it”

Being 100% open and honest in sales and marketing is rare. It’s not that marketers lie or are dishonest. It’s just that they focus on the positives and make a big deal out of them while diverting attention away from the potential negatives. But consider being open about your weaknesses this could actually strengthen your brand.

The Local Business Awards want to celebrate the best local, ethical & sustainable businesses in the UK, what category will you be entering?

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