Image for The do’s and don’ts of being an ethical start-up

Being ethical as a business is a strong commitment to make

Running a start-up can be lucrative, but it is not all about the money.

For many it is a rejection of the corporate culture that they see as harmful to the planet and assuming an ethical stance.

Even if you do not share this conviction, making sure your start-up has a conscience has many benefits.

It can be a great selling point, and it can show potential clients that you are a trustworthy business with a strong moral compass, exactly the kind of company that would be great to work with.

With that in mind, here are some of the key do’s and don’t’s of running an ethical start-up.

DO: Go green

You don’t need to rewatch An Inconvenient Truth once a week to know that our environment is in more trouble than it ever has been.

A great thing about start-ups is that they have the chance to take an entirely green approach to business. Unlike long-established corporations that will struggle to change their ways on a meaningful scale, start-ups can go green easily.

If you have not already gone green, or if you would like to go even greener, these simple steps from Inc. are a great place to start. A few choice examples include turning off all electricals when not in use, offering sustainable food to employees, only working with green companies, and recycling.

DON’T: Waste

As mentioned, recycling is a must for any ethical start-up. A basic level of recycling is essential for every business, but a strong commitment to the practice can really improve your ethical standing. It might be worth contacting the company that provides your disposal services to find out what kind of advanced recycling and reusing options are available to you.

There are other ways to reduce waste. If you work with inventory, make sure you order in effectively. Throwing away unsold stock is a huge cause of waste.

DO: Donate to charity

Charity work is the ultimate ethical commitment. Some start-ups donate money to charity as a way to help others, and gain ethical standing in the process. Go Up may well be the most ethical SEO agency London has to offer thanks to its pledge to give 10 per cent of profits to charity.

Another approach is for your business to provide its services to a charity, free of charge. Many charities have small marketing budgets, opening up the perfect opportunity for a marketing start-up to help.

Aside from the selfless element of helping others out, your start-up could in fact benefit from charity work in many ways through team building and networking.

DON’T: Exploit workers

For a start-up, it is sometimes difficult to pay large salaries, even for those at the top of the business. Because of this, some companies employ workers as interns or contractors. If you do this, make sure your employees are fairly compensated in some way. You could treat your internship as a comprehensive training programme, equipping interns with valuable skills they can use in the workplace.

You can also stay ethical by gearing your hiring process towards those from disadvantaged or minority backgrounds who may find it difficult to get a job elsewhere due to ingrained corporate bias.

Follow these simple Do’s and Don’t’s and your company is sure to build a strong ethical reputation, benefitting your business prospects, and the wider world.


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