Strictly Business? Making Ethical Decisions in a Commercial World.
Every entrepreneur, sooner or later, will be faced with the crucial question: What should I do? August 9, 2019 4 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. We can all come up with examples of of self-evidently bad business decisions: Findus having to admit back in 2013 that substantial numbers of its ready-made meals contained horse meat, or earlier this year, when Standard Chartered was ordered to pay out $1.1 billion after breaking sanctions against Iran and other nations. These were not just mistakes. Somewhere along the line, someone in a position of authority charted a course that they knew to be ethically incorrect but commercially profitable, presumably in the hope that they wouldn’t be found out. And they were. Faced with a choice between goodliness and mammon, they chose mammon, and it didn’t work out. But there’s a much tougher set of decisions to be made for entrepreneurs who wouldn’t dream of doing something blatantly immoral, but have to reckon with those who do. For example, when the Sultan of Brunei recently announced his intention to enforce draconian laws against homosexuality, calls to boycott business ventures in which he and his family invested began immediately. The argument was that the Sultan’s decision was so regressive and intolerant that the weight of reputational damage lay clearly on the side of doing nothing. Suddenly, the Brunei brand was tainted, and businesses made a very clear and conscious decision not to damage themselves by association. Related: What Working at Enron Taught Me About Corporate Ethics Here in the U.S., after Georgia’s governor signed legislation essentially banning abortions six weeks out from conception, Disney, WarnerMedia and Netflix all publicly expressed reservations about filming any productions there. Plus, individual stars like Alyssa Milano, Sean Penn, Laura Linney, Jason Bateman and Amy Schumer stated their aversion to the