Business Level 3 Unit 37 P3

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Describe the social implications of business ethics facing Marks and Spencer in its different areas of activity.

Ethics must be global, not local. In order to build a truly great global business the leaders need to bring forward a global standard of ethical practices.

The only way to build a great global company is with a single global standard of business practices, vigorously communicated and rigorously enforced. Companies must layout the same business standards in Chicago, Paris, and Shanghai as in London.

Marks and Spencer face many ethical issues in their daily activities and these affect the public and their business in different ways.

Society and Ethical Views

When Marks and Spencer set the prices of their products, consumers think why they are priced at that amount. If Marks and Spencer source products from under paid farmers in China then this will be considered unethical in Britain as most consumers who shop at M&S want a “fair trade”. Ensuring M&S source their products from fair trade organisations their customers will be encouraged to shop there as they are doing their bit to prevent poverty in other countries.

Marks and Spencer donate 1% of their net profit to a charity. M&S have to take in to consideration what charity would be ethically right to donate to. For example, donating to an organisation such as BNP would cause controversy and would be unethical due to the parties’ extreme views that do not reflect the whole of society. Choosing a charity such as Cancer Research would be more ethical as it is a charity which most of society agree on. This will encourage customers to shop at M&S as it they know that some of the proceeds go to a good cause that they believe in.

Marks and Spencer’s recruitment process aims to be fair and not to discriminate groups of society. For example, if an old person applied to a job at a manager level and a middle aged person applied for the same job, it would be unethical to choose the middle aged person based on his or her age alone. Choosing their staff with ethical decisions will benefit M&S as they will not be accused of discrimination and won’t gain bad press because of it.

When Marks and Spencer create their electrics they must make sure that they conform to health and safety regulations. If a batch of products were to get sent out into stores with safety hazards on them it would be down to M&S whether to recall it or not. The ethical decision would be to recall the products and protect their customers from any harm, if a customer was to use a faulty product and get damaged from it then M&S could be liable to being sued and having negative press printed about the company. Also, the trust would be ruined and people will be cautious to shop at M&S.

When Marks and Spencer bid to secure contracts overseas with suppliers there are financial ethics taking place. In some countries it is “ok” to bribe businesses for contracts and this is an ethical decision M&S has to take when sealing contracts. If they bribe suppliers for contracts then they run the risk of being exposed and having bad press, this will be frowned upon in Britain’s society and customers will not want to support such activities.

When Marks and Spencer trial their beauty products they have ethics in production to consider. For example, testing eye liner on animals and genetically modifying ingredients will clash with some of society’s beliefs and ethics. Groups of society that don’t believe in animal testing will be active in creating bad press about Marks and Spencer’s product creation process.

When Marks and Spencer need new software (or intellectual property) they face the ethical issue of whether to torrent (software piracy) or buy it legitimately. Obviously, using a torrent will save money however should information leak out that they have done this activity in order to acquire the latest software it will result in bad press and a lack of trust from society towards M&S....
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