Corporate Codes of Conduct and Reports
Codes of Conduct and Corporate Reports
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. Almost every code represents a snapshot of the unique values and culture of the company to which it applies, and yet, there tends to be many common features from one code to another, and these serve as a testimony to the ethical standards that are often shared by companies around the globe.
The importance of these codes cannot be overstated. By writing, publishing, and publicly sharing a business’s code of ethics, companies put themselves on record regarding the 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 in committing themselves to ethical standards, companies not only pledge to adhere to high ethical standards, but also to avoid retaliation against whistleblowers. 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.
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 these codes and storing them in our library. But times have changed. More and more, the first place where people turn to in seeking a code of conduct is online. For that reason, we have embraced the digital age by assembling a collection of links to electronic versions of corporate codes of conduct across a broad range of economic sectors. We hope this will serve as a valuable resource to those seeking to understand the place of ethics in business. Please email us with suggestions for additional codes to be added to our list.