Corporate Codes of Conduct and Reports on CSR & Sustainability
For years, the Center for Business Ethics went to lengths to act as a curator of codes of ethics by collecting and organizing paper copies of corporate codes of conduct and storing them in our library. Times have changed, and now, we turn to the internet to serve as the central archive for links to corporate codes of conduct and reports on CSR, sustainability, and other related forms of corporate citizenship. We hope these reports will serve as valuable resources to those seeking to understand the place of ethics in business. If you notice any significant omissions, please email us with suggestions for additional codes to be added to our list.
1. Codes of Conduct
One of the significant advances in the management of business during the last three decades has been the widespread adoption of corporate codes of conduct. The importance of these codes cannot be overstated. By writing, publishing, and publicly sharing a business’s code of conduct, companies put themselves on record regarding the ethical standards to which they adhere and which apply to all members of a company. These codes help promote transparency, consistency, and impartiality, which benefits not only employees, but also investors, and all of a company’s stakeholders. Moreover, codes of conduct often support the development of more secure workplace environments because not only do they constitute a company’s public commitment to high ethical standards, but they may reduce the risk of retaliation against whistleblowers by putting a company’s ethical commitment on record. In the United States, legislators have recognized the importance of ethics to a strong and stable economy, and, consequently, both the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines for Organizations encourage companies to develop ethical corporate cultures in part through the creation of codes of conduct.
2. Reports on Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability
The impact of corporations on society is colossal, and with the spread of business ethics around the world, businesses have increasingly come to realize that there is more to the ethical management of business than complying with the law. Because corporations are vital players in the development of society, in this section, we have assembled links to a large selection of reports that document the ways in which companies are embracing corporate social responsibility (CSR), sustainability, stakeholder engagement, and the many ways in which businesses seek to embrace corporate citizenship and respect for stakeholder interests.