Business and ethics are often portrayed as opposites in public. Companies are falsely accused of ignorance towards social, ecological and humanitarian issues as well as a ruthless pursuit of profit. Employers face up to this discussion, are aware of their ethical responsibility and actively assume it.
Companies that operate successfully make an irreplaceable contribution to the common good. Only through profits can a company create and secure jobs and invest in training and innovation. Profits are therefore by no means morally reprehensible, but necessary and desirable. At the same time, they are a signal that companies are positioned to be sustainable and fit for the future. The economic success of a company is the prerequisite for any further social action.
Values are a prerequisite for economic success
In order to secure their own future viability, companies are dependent on ethical values. Values create trust, and those who are not trusted will find no customers, no employees and no business partners. Only if values are also lived in the companies, they are credible and sustainable. Credible value management starts with executives, entrepreneurs and managers; they have a special role model function. Abuses must be clearly condemned and the misconduct of individuals must be punished. The ethical principles of good business conduct, as embodied by the "honourable merchant", also apply in the age of globalisation. The social market economy depends on an ethic of responsibility.
Voluntary guidelines support ethical corporate culture
Numerous companies have voluntarily adopted guidelines that promote an ethical corporate culture and encourage responsible and sustainable action. One example of this is the "Guiding Principles for Responsible Business", which were initiated by the Wittenberg Centre for Global Ethics and signed by many large companies and organisations, including the BDA. By orienting themselves to internationally recognised guidelines, internationally operating companies also define the framework for responsible conduct abroad. These include the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, which provide recommendations for responsible corporate action in a global context.