Codes of conduct that are laid out for businesses to adhere to have long been key to maintain their reputation and professionalism. Unfortunately, however, many infamous incidents involving shady business practices and even illegal activities at the highest levels of some powerful companies have shown that profit and greed have all too often come before integrity and ethics, and, if not kept in check, have led to the financial ruin of businesses and personal devastation of all those who had hitherto been invested in them, which in turn diminishes public trust and creates a reluctance to do further business with the involved company. To avoid this, here are just 5 of many reasons to ensure your business is up to code.

1. The Principle of Property

One reason to make sure your business is up to code is to uphold the principle of property, which prioritizes ownership, both intellectual and tangible. As a result, things like embezzlement, theft, and misappropriation, which devalue this principle and jeopardize individual dignity as well as business reputation, are to be safeguarded against at all costs. Property ownership is such a central value in modern society, and therefore it behooves businesses to maintain information security and adhere to privacy laws for their own sake and for the sake of their consumers and clients.

2. The Principle of Reliability

Another reason to make sure your business is up to code is to uphold the principle of reliability. This means honoring all commitments and even intentions. This is particularly important in today’s climate of economic uncertainty, where the trust built between parties doing business together is at times the only constant. This requires parties to not only carry out what they promise but to make promises they are sure that they can actually fulfill. This also brings a moral element into an otherwise amoral atmosphere, and speaks well of companies that can take the extra step in building trust and creating a sense of certainty.

3. The Principle of Transparency

Another reason to make sure your business is up to code is to uphold the principle of transparency. This means being honest about one’s business dealings, disclosing relevant information accurately and in a timely fashion so that the public can be sure of what clients’ investments are being used for. This does not necessarily mean total openness, but rather a commitment to honest dialogue and aligning stated intentions with transactions in order to build rapport and trust rather than secretly doing shady practices behind closed doors.

4. The Principle of Dignity

Another reason to make sure your business is up to code is to uphold the principle of dignity. While businesses have financial obligations to keep and the company’s interest to promote, these can still be done in a way that affirms employees, clients, and other businesses. To put it more simply, it elevates respect for the person over greed over the profit as the driving force behind doing business. This prioritization of the person leads to other considerations like health and privacy, which humanize the business and align its mission more closely with those of the wider society that patronizes and profits from it. It can also lead to affirmative initiatives for those who may be disenfranchised or otherwise less fortunate rather than simply those who can afford to pay.

5. The Principle of Fairness

Last but certainly not least, another reason to make sure your business is up to code is to uphold the principle of fairness. Essentially, this entails reciprocity when it comes to business dealings, due process when it comes to matters of justice, distributing duties equitably, and allowing for unbiased competition between parties. It also means not inappropriately discriminating based on gender, race, or other factors, allowing all parties and clients equitable compensation and an even playing field. Most companies nowadays have become quite proactive to promote and ensure fairness, but a lawyer is always available as well in cases of unfair treatment. If you don’t have legal representation for your business you should try to find a good reputable lawyer in your area. For example, if your business is in California you might search for a lawyer in Orange County.

The business codes addressed previously are extensions of principles and solutions to long-standing ethical dilemmas that have arisen in nearly all societies worldwide throughout history. These dilemmas in turn relate to fundamental human concerns such as security, cooperation, and trust. With businesses and companies having such central roles in the modern societies that create and support them, it makes sense that corporate conduct should reflect and abide by the very same social principles.