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Business Ethics in the Footwear, Clothing, and Textile Industries - Essay Example

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In the essay “Business Ethics in the Footwear, Clothing, and Textile Industries” the author analyzes increase of the role of ethical values within their strategies. Codes of practice or ethical codes should then be adopted and implemented, which are made up of principles…
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Business Ethics in the Footwear, Clothing, and Textile Industries
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Business Ethics in the Footwear, Clothing, and Textile Industries
Because of market globalization and the recognition of the textile, clothing, and footwear- or TCF- enterprise as a major growth driver, most international TCF organizations have began to increase the role of ethical values within their strategies (Ferrell et al, 2013: p42). Codes of practice or ethical codes should then be adopted and implemented, which are made up of principles that regulate the enterprise’s internal operations, as well as, its relations with all stakeholders is a tangible expression of social responsibility in the TCF industry (Ferrell et al, 2013: p42). Business ethic is important for the TCF industry in a globalized economy, although the industry still lags behind global best practices. In this case, business ethics of the TCF industry will be evaluated using the principles of fairness, fiduciary, and transparency.
Business ethics and conduct have been a major talking point in the TCF industry, especially with regards to fairness of its dealings, processes, stakeholder treatment, and competition policies. The principle of fairness seeks to ensure that TCF organizations engage in; fair and free ethical competition, deals with all stakeholders in a way that can described as being equitable and fair, and is non-discriminatory during the process of contracting and hiring (Braithwaite & Drahos, 2010: p401). This principle has been a problematic one within the TCF industry. The workforce is 80% female on minimum wage that averages $38 every month. This industry has the lowest costs of labor globally, and the workers’ unions are intimidated with violence in order to stay quiet on industry standard violations (Sajhau, 2013: p34). The industry needs to create a more friendly culture for workers, enforcing freedom of association sans victimization, pro-labor legislation, balance the gender inequality gap, and fire and building inspection codes. This can be achieved with the help of global retailers.
Issues related to diligence and loyalty is an important concern with regards to business ethics in the TCF industry. The industry would be required to act as a fiduciary for investors and the company by carrying out the organization’s operations in a loyal and diligent manner expected of trustees (Braithwaite & Drahos, 2010: p402). Corporate ethics are reflective of the business’ philosophy, and one of its objectives is the determination of the company’s fundamental purposes. However, most companies in the TCF industry have violated their fiduciary responsibility through sacrificing their profits for concerns other than the wellbeing of their companies (Carroll & Buchholtz, 2010: p329). To counter this, the industry will have embraced a code of ethics, which is capable of promoting and protecting the industry. This would be advantageous, as it would equate the industry to the latest standards and practices in other industries.
Finally, transparency in the TCF industry business operations is very important in appraising its business ethics. The transparency principle contends that organizations must conduct their business in an open and truthful manner free from practices and acts of deception, as well as keep accurate records and disclose important information in a timely manner (Braithwaite & Drahos, 2010: p403). However, industry players are not truly transparent. Most organizations rarely publicize their business partners, and it is not easy to tell where the products are sourced. In addition, very few of them have mapped their chain of supply for access by stakeholders (Singleton, 2007: p55). The TCF industry needs to increase transparency to show supplier-buyer connections and open their books of accounting to scrutiny.
The Global Business Standards Codex, rather than being a moral code, acts as a benchmark for companies, to create their code of conduct. It attempts to give a simplified and comprehensive view of what today’s TCF organizations are expected to do. However, it still provides helpful information on the state of the TCF industry today, and it is clear that a lot needs to be done, predominantly in transparency, fairness, and fiduciary.
References
Braithwaite, J., & Drahos, P. (2010): Global business regulation. Cambridge [u.a.], Cambridge Univ. Press
Carroll, A. B., & Buchholtz, A. K. (2010): Business & society: ethics and stakeholder management. Mason, OH, CL-South-Western Cengage Learning
Ferrell, O. C., Fraedrich, J., & Ferrell, L. (2013): Business ethics: ethical decision making and cases. Mason, OH, South-Western/Cengage Learning
Sajhau, J.P. (2013). Business ethics in the textile, clothing and footwear (TCF) industries: conduct. Geneva, International Labor Office.
Singleton, J. (2007): The world textile industry. London [u.a.], Routledge. Read More
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