Let's be honest, nobody wants to be in a job where they go home at the end of the day and feel like they've acheived nothing. Nobody can feel content working for a company where they exploit people or have been exploited, and neither will anybody really feel proud of having deceived their colleagues or clients, just because the job demands it.
And yet we hear so many stories portraying those scenarios. It's clearly no longer about any given job, company or boss, it's more about a rampant culture which seems to be a little too common.
That's not for us.
We can idealise and say that we have a dream to create an amazing company which can become a safe haven for tired and down-trodden talent which is under appreciated in their current job. We can say that we want to be an award winning company which goes viral on social media for our amazing stance on social issues. We can dream about having thousands of followers on LinkedIn, constantly getting hi-fived for our mindful, innovative, avacado fuelled work culture.
Or we can just get down to work. Which is really what we're here for.
Now just because we're not in a position to do press releases about saving whales, planting trees or even installing solar panels at our offices, it doesn't mean that we're not conducting business in a way that is ethical, dignified and honourable.
It may not be as news worthy, but you know, just not telling fibs at your work place is a great way to plant a flag and make a statement about work ethics. And what about telling little white lies to that customer about how we slipped up and didn't send their package out? Come on, you wouldn't want to bring your child up telling porkies as it would impact who they are as an adult, so why would we want to set that tone in whilst nurturing our fledgling company?
Just being good human beings is a pretty fair starting point for writing our employee handbook.
But what about business? Well we decided to keep it clean, to be fair and transparent to our customers and suppliers, just as we would ideally want them to be with us. Yes, we're here to make money but how we do it matters.
When making purchasing decisions we audit our suppliers to ensure that where possible we can see that they operate ethically in terms of environmental compliance, concideration to enviromental impact from their operations and treatment of their workforce. Seems pretty reasonable, right?
Lets face it, no UK based company would pay one pound an hour for their products to be produced in sweatshop conditions. Well, not since the industrial revolution anyway. And yet UK based companies still outsource their manufacturing to sweatshops in the far East.
With our profile as a retailer we receive daily contacts from 'Eastern manufacturing companies', usually with links to their Alibaba and Ali Express profiles that offer us high quality products. How on Earth could we seriously audit these companies and confirm that their products weren't made in a prison workshop or that the medical grade silicone or the food-safe plastics that are used really are what they say. Once we received an offer to purchase menstrual cups made in China and were sent a copy of the CE certification for the product. CE certification doesn't exist for menstrual cups!
The solution to the conundrum? Support our local economy!
Local could be buying the milk for the coffee at a local corner shop rather than the national chain of super markets, it could be stocking UK manufactured goods or it could be buying a European product rather than a Chineese one. One key point is that our auditing is easier when a supplier is based in the UK or the EU as environmental and employment issues are enshrined in law and enforced with inspections, so unless there is some criminality or serious deception going on, then compliance can be assumed with a few cursory checks. Yet asking an Ali Express supplier if there's any risk of toxic chemicals having been used in the manufacture of their product? Good luck with that one.
There are so many aspects of ethics in business, in commerce, in the work place and in the society in which we operate. Every decision we make can be viewed through a lense of ethics and we try our hardest to do that. Not to get Insta-likes, but just so we can go home at the end of the day and feel like we've done a job we can be proud of.
Check out our blog where we'll be posting more examples of our ethical decision making and hopefully it just might inspire someone to look at the way they do business or how they spend their money.