There are several reasons that people have a misleading view that business ethics is not required in small firms. It can explain in economic and social aspect. For the economic aspect, the obligation of a business is to earn more and legally. Being ethical means doing some business practice to favour a group of stakeholders like public or supplier. It will result in expected outflow of economic resource. As small firm have little resource, business ethics deviate business from its objective: earning money. Besides, being ethical can be costly for small firms and get them away from business growth.
In 2016 October, there are 574 social enterprises in Hong Kong and only 60% of them are profitable (SCMP, 2016). Although social enterprises are not equivalent to business ethics, it is believed that being ethical is not easy. For the social aspect, the society does not require small firms to be ethics. Firstly, large-scale firms are usually more profitable than small firms because they can get the benefit from outsourcing or mass production etc. People except the “richer” big firms will feedback to the society because their profit is obtained from the citizens.
As a result, people pay high awareness on big firms’ business ethics and the developing small firms seems not that important. Moreover, big firms must answer public questions to keep its reputation for future benefit. Therefore, ethical business practice has become standardized business strategy for the big firm such as charity marathon by Standard Chartered (Standard Chartered, 2018). Finally, even if small firms want to be ethical, some of them are doing irrelevant things because of lacking resource and experience. Since the public can not read their intention, business ethics practice of small firms has not yet become popular. Gingko House (GH) is a social enterprise established in 2003 by a group of senior social worker, aiming to provide job opportunities for elders with economic and psychological needs. GH has variety of business like restaurant, organic farm, agent service for elderly employment etc. As an ethical business, GH is rewarded by different award such as “FoodEver WasteNever Award” and “Outstanding Social Enterprise”. Although sustainability analyze is not stated by GH, GH is actually a sustainable firm in John Elkington’s Triple bottom line. For economic perspective, being ethical and caring do not obstruct GH from economic growth. For itself, it opened branches both in 2016 and 2017. Also, it started up an online shopping platform in 2018. For the public, it was the first group to set up restaurant in a Revitalization Scheme. It benefits Hong Kong cultural diversity and economic. For the environment perspective, GH operating an organic farm.
Although it seems useless compare with huge food usage every day, it provided a green area for the city to counter pollution in the city while providing education through guiding tour. For the society perspective, GH is credited by the public because it always provides help to those in needs such as employing elders, provide free diet for street sleeper, cheap ($12) but high-quality diet for root class. It provides labor force for the society and raising the living standard for people in difficulties. Under the Triple bottom line, we can see that GH is a sustainable business which is ethical and benefit to the Hong Kong society.
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