BELA: Standardized ethical codes, or new corporate expense?

December 15, 2008

America’s corporate image has become tarnished over the years. A handful of companies are seeking to bring some of that shine back to our national brand. The Business Ethics Leadership Alliance (BELA) is a new initiative, which hopes to create ethical credentials that companies can obtain and utilize to rebuild global trust in American companies.

The four founding principles behind the new ethical guidelines are: legal compliance, transparency, avoiding conflict of interest, and corporate accountability. The principles are sound, but will require sincere and authoritative implementation to ensure that BELA is a success.

A potential pitfall would be that BELA becomes a corporate expense, with periodic “ethical audits” from third-party companies. If the costs outweigh the benefits, companies will decline to join BELA. In order to rebuild America’s corporate reputation, trust needs to first be instilled in BELA.

These new principles will need to become standardized guidelines for companies to adhere to. A set of rules that will help a company run more efficiently. It is vital that BELA clearly defines itself, so that the goals it hopes to attain work for American companies, rather than against them.

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