12 Principles of Ethical Business Conduct

Home » Corporate Culture » 12 Principles of Ethical Business Conduct

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Have you ever heard of ethical business practices?

It’s all about setting standards of ethical behavior for businesses that ensure they don’t harm society, the environment, employees, customers, and stakeholders.

See, if we don’t follow these concepts, legal penalties and damage are sure to follow your company’s reputation.

In this blog, we’ll look at 12 principles of ethical business conduct. We will see how to onboard these principles in your business. Also, we will look at some common examples of unethical practices.

Let’s get started!


Ethical business conduct is essential for maintaining the trust and a positive reputation. This blog outlines 12 principles of ethical business conduct, including honesty, transparency, sustainability, and social responsibility. Unethical practices such as lying to customers, cheating on taxes, and discrimination are also discussed. Upholding ethical principles can improve business performance and reduce legal risks.

Ethical business principles
Photo by Unseen Studio on Unsplash

What Is Ethical Business Conduct?

Ethical business conducts means behaving in accordance to moral principles and values such as honesty, fairness, responsibility and compassion. Business ethics involve a system of practices to build trust with the customer and adhere to law.

Business ethics also refer to moral standards and practices that guide business organizations.

Ethical business conduct considers the influence on all stakeholders, including customers, employees and environment. This ethical conduct aims at creating positive impact on the community and the world.

All businesses must follow ethical business practices to build trust and loyalty with their customers. The ethical business conduct helps businesses develop a strong reputation for ethical business practices.

Importance of doing ethical business

The principles of ethical business are important for all business executives to understand and follow. 

Why? because ethical conduct in business is legally required and it also builds a good reputation in establishing trust with customers and partners. 

Business executives must make decisions that uphold ethical values and do not involve partial truths, bribery, or omissions. 

In the United States, all businesses must follow code of conduct promoting good faith in decision-making. Also, prevent any misconduct and retaliation against employees who report ethical dilemmas. 

Additionally, businesses must recognize corporate social responsibility (CSR) in business governance. 

This means considering the impact of business operations on the environment, society, and economy, and taking steps to minimize any negative effects. 

Business executives must also consider how their personal life may impact their decisions and should avoid conflicts of interest that could harm the corporate benefit.

12 Principles of Ethical Business Conduct

  1. Honesty and integrity

    How truthful you and your business are? Are doing the right thing? If you can answer these questions, then you maintain honesty and integrity.

  2. Fairness and equality

    Treating everyone the same is fairness and equality. As a business, you must not distinguish rather give everyone a fair chance.

  3. Responsibility and accountability

    You build trust and credibility when you take full responsibility and accountability for your actions.

  4. Transparency and openness

    Businesses must be transparent in all their dealings. That builds immense trust with the investors even when the firm is not doing well.

  5. Lawfulness and compliance

    There is no doubt all businesses must follow legal procedures defined by the state. It increases your authority in your business.

  6. Respect for stakeholders

    Who doesn’t look for respect? Everyone does. Also, for stakeholders, respect has a higher value than money.

  7. Confidentiality and privacy

    If you are dealing with a customer base, big or small, confidentiality and privacy are a must-have.

  8. Sustainability and environmental consciousness

    We live on Earth, and there is only one right now. So, sustainability and environmental consciousness must be any business’s priority.

  9. Ethical leadership and governance

    It is a leadership trait for success. Being ethical is about leading by example and ensuring everyone in the business is ethical.

  10. Professionalism and competence

    It is the art of doing business alongside all your stakeholders and customers. It is one of the most valued skills that everyone must have.

  11. Reputation and brand protection

    If you have a business, that is your brand. Its reputation is nothing but the trust your customers and stakeholders build with you. Don’t drop the ball here.

  12. Social responsibility and community involvement

    If you want your business to thrive, you must involve others in doing good things for your community.

Common Examples of Unethical Business Practices

Lying to customers

When a business tells a lie to make people buy their product, it is not being honest. For example, a business might say its product will make someone lose weight instantly, but that’s not true.

Cheating on taxes

Some businesses cheat on taxes; it does not help the community. It is not ethical because it puts a burden on others who do pay their taxes.


Being unfair to people for any reason, it is called discrimination and is a no-no.

Copying someone else’s work

Haven’t we seen this already? There are many businesses that do this without the necessary permission. It is called stealing. It is unethical because it takes away the hard work and creativity of the original person.

Polluting the environment

Harming the environment, like dumping waste in a river, is irresponsible. It is unethical because it damages the natural world and can make people and animals sick.

You can also consider insider trading, conflicts of interest, bribery, violations of code of ethics as well. These also come under the category of unethical business.


Businesses must always uphold ethical principles to maintain public trust and ethical business conduct. 

Implementing these principles can help businesses build trust with their customers and employees. It also increases performance, and lessens legal risks. 

Remember, customers look for excellence, trustworthiness, and empathy. They are the business partners for any firm with consistency as bottom line.

Share your thoughts and if you have noticed any irregularities in any business you have dealt with.

Hoomale is a hub of thought-provoking articles on various subjects, from company operations to the mindset and behavior of young people to future work and tech. Stay informed and educated with our captivating reads.

Get notified of our next post via email by signing up with the form below!

Disclaimer: Our post may contain affiliate links. By clicking and purchasing, the commission could come our way at no extra cost. Rest assured – we only endorse products and services with a personal stamp of approval and top-notch quality. Appreciation for your support runs deep.

Click to rate this post!
[Total: 0 Average: 0]


%d bloggers like this: