Choosing to Work for an Ethical Company


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Starting a new job can be a difficult change to take in. If you’re working full time, you’re essentially deciding where you want to be for eight hours a day, five days a week, and who you want to be earning money for. There’s no worse feeling in the world when you come to the realisation that you’re giving up your time to make money for a non-ethical company with clandestine intentions, so here’s a number of things to look out for before you decide to take a job with a certain company.

Corporate Social Responsibility

When looking at the overall make-up of a company, and how they operate, the best thing to look at first is how they measure up in terms of corporate social responsibility. The term corporate social responsibility, or CSR is used to describe business practices undertaken that have a benefit to society. If you’re looking to get a handle on how different businesses measure up, be sure to check in on Forbes as they tend to list the most ethical companies once a year.

If you’re looking at a business that is relatively small, and unlikely to be featured in a large publication like Forbes, have a look at their website for ethical mission statements to see what the business values. If you can’t find any reference to CSR, then the alarm bells should start ringing.

Environmental impact

The facts are simple; every type of business, in every type of industry across the world cannot sustain if we don’t take care of the planet. It should therefore be seen that all businesses should be doing everything that they can to minimise their impact on the world and to be carbon neutral. Sadly, we all know that this is not the case, as all kinds of environmental atrocities are committed by multi-nationals every day.

Luckily, there are a number of authoritative lists of companies who have both the greatest and smallest impacts online that can give you a steer on which businesses have the most amount of respect for the environment, and which don’t.

Treatment of employees

A good indicator of how a company operates is to get an idea of what the overall working culture is like for employees, and if workers are truly valued by their bosses. It’s important here to make the distinction between those on the board of directors who might have a degree of disconnect between those on the bottom of the ladder and middle level managers.

Some indications can come easily, like checking if employers’ liability insurance is in place and what kind of pay grades are being enforced. Some businesses have been shamed in the media for having a negative working culture, and it looks like the tide on this is being turned gradually. Knowing if businesses are treating people right is a pretty clear indicator of a degree of ethical accountability.

Once you have a clear idea of what makes a business a force for good in the world, you can make informed decisions about who you want to dedicate your time working for. It shouldn’t be a case of people scrambling over any job that’s available. In a perfect world, employers would be doing their best to demonstrate all these values to try and attract the best talent. Unfortunately, we’re not quite at this stage yet.