You are the CEO of a business that employs 25 employees and owns and operates a clothing design company, which uses locally sourced and organic cotton material, hand-sews its clothes, uses artisans in the community, pays a fair wage (with “benefits”), and is attempting to revitalize the clothing industry in the South. Your biggest challenges consist of trying to keep your prices down, while purchasing locally-sourced organic material which is hand-sewn by American workers, while other companies have out-sourced their supply chain and manufacturing to 3rd world countries at a fraction of the cost. In addition, your open source approach to patterns and techniques mean that other companies have access to your designs, which they can manufacture much more cheaply either using machines or using workers in 3rd world countries. Your primary value lies in your integrity, devotion to local sourcing and paying a fair wage to the local artisans you are committed to using for the production of your clothing line each year.
You have decided that a code of ethics is required in your company. What should it look like? To be workable, it should probably be clear, succinct and easy to understand. But how will you approach it? Will it be aspirational (containing statements of values aimed at or good things to do) or regulatory (statements of rules and prohibition, i.e. “You may not ______”)? How will you provide for feedback or enforcement? What good do you hope to accomplish with this code of ethics?
Draft a code of ethics that you think will work, and present it to your classmates for feedback and discussion.
When I say “draft” – I mean that you should write this, after thinking through the ethical approaches we’re studying. Please do not consult the internet, other corporate ethical codes as examples, or any other how-to guides beyond the course materials. This exercise is meant to get you to think through how the ethical theories might actually apply in practice, as well as for you to experience the shortcomings of each approach.