Principles for Business
The Institute for Corporate Social Development believes in the following Business
Principles which are based on, and adapted from the Caux Round Table Principles of
Business. The Caux Round Table, founded in 1986, is an International network of principled
business leaders working to promote moral capitalism throughout the world.
We therefore believe that business can be a powerful agent of positive social change, and we
offer the following principles as a foundation for dialogue and action by business leaders in
search of business responsibility. In so doing, we affirm the necessity for moral values in
business decision making. Without them, stable business relationships and a sustainable world
community are impossible.
Principle 1. The Responsibilities of Businesses
The value of a business to society is the wealth and employment it creates and the marketable
products and services it provides to consumers at a reasonable price commensurate with quality.
To create such value, a business must maintain its own economic health and viability.
Principle 2. The Economic and Social Impact of Business
Businesses established in foreign countries to develop, produce or sell should also contribute
to the social advancement of those countries by creating productive employment and helping
to raise the purchasing power of their citizens. Businesses also should contribute to human
rights, education, welfare, and vitalization of the countries in which they operate.
Principle 3. Business Behaviour
While accepting the legitimacy of trade secrets, businesses should recognize that sincerity,
candour, truthfulness, the keeping of promises, and transparency contribute not only to their
own credibility and stability but also to the smoothness and efficiency of business
transactions, particularly on the international level.
Principle 4. Respect for Rules
To avoid trade frictions and to promote freer trade, equal conditions for competition, and fair
and equitable treatment for all participants, businesses should respect international and
domestic rules. In addition, they should recognize that some behaviour, although legal, may
still have adverse consequences.
Principle 5. Support for Multilateral Trade
Businesses should support multilateral trade systems and agreements. They should cooperate
in efforts to promote the progressive and judicious liberalization of trade and to relax those
domestic measures that unreasonably hinder global commerce, while giving due respect to
national policy objectives.
Principle 6. Respect for the Environment
A business should protect and, where possible, improve the environment, promote
sustainable development, and prevent the wasteful use of natural resources.
Principle 7. Avoidance of Illicit Operations
A business should not participate in or condone bribery, money laundering, or other corrupt
practices: indeed, it should seek cooperation with others to eliminate them. It should not trade
in arms or other materials used for terrorist activities, drug traffic or other organized crime.
Principle 8. Treatment of Customers
We believe in treating all customers with dignity, irrespective of whether they purchase our
products and services directly from us or otherwise acquire them in the market.
Principle 9. Treatment of Employees
We believe in the dignity of every employee and in taking employee interests seriously.
Principle 10. Treatment of Owners / Investors
We believe in honouring the trust our investors place in us. We therefore have a responsibility
to apply professional and diligent management in order to secure a fair and competitive return
on our owners’ investment.
Principle 11. Treatment of Suppliers
Our relationship with suppliers and subcontractors must be based on mutual respect. We
therefore have a responsibility to seek fairness and truthfulness in all our activities, including
pricing, licensing, and rights to sell.
Principle 12. Treatment of Competitors
We believe that fair economic competition is one of the basic requirements for increasing the
wealth of nations and ultimately for making possible the just distribution of goods and services.
We therefore have a responsibility to promote competitive behavior that is socially and
environmentally beneficial and demonstrates mutual respect among competitors.
Principle 13. Treatment of Communities
We believe that as global corporate citizens we can contribute to such forces of reform and
human rights as are at work in the communities in which we operate. We therefore have a
responsibility in those communities to respect human rights and democratic institutions, and
promote them wherever practicable, and to collaborate with those forces in the community
dedicated to raising standards of health, education, workplace safety and economic well-being.