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What Are Ethics In Modern Business?

Ethics is one of those buzz words that is thrown around so much in businesses these days, many businesses in countless industries claim to be ethical (us included) but what does it really mean?

This is where we fall into a complication, "Ethical" is not a standard, it is basically an opinion, the goal posts are positioned wherever the business owner decides to place them, this has the potential to be problematic.

This article is what it means to us, Wildflower, to be ethical in what we do. This is where we position our goal posts to claim that we are an ethical business that acts with respect and integrity in everything that we do.

Next time you go to buy a product or use a service, do a little research, check their website and see where they stand, you might be surprised (for better or worse) on what you are buying. Supporting businesses that are prioritising ethics in their practise is one of the greatest ways you can promote ethics as a consumer.

Prioritising People

The first thing that comes to mind when we are making our business decisions is prioritising people, and this starts with the people farming or manufacturing products in our supply chains and ends with our direct employees and our customers. All people along the lines are treated with respect, kindness and fairness beyond legal obligation.

Just because it is legal does not mean it fulfils what we would class as ethical in or business.

People are such a large part of what make Wildflower special, we love our staff and our customers and our overarching Wildflower mission is to show people their value, this is through our lifestyle and apparel goods as well as our coffee service.

On the other end, we work with closely with few manufacturers and companies that have themselves claimed the responsibility to act with respect to their people, we work directly with our factories and their staff for transparency and personal communication.

Along with all of the above we work hard to maintain long, ongoing relationships with the companies we work with, this allows us to know our suppliers, workers and manufacturers on a personal level and ensure that we are always on the same page with ethics in our workplaces and practices.

Prioritising the Environment

Minimising environmental impacts as a business is really hard, it's another one we have worked seriously hard on over the last 4 years and improved upon as we have grown as a business. I am personally really proud of where we stand in environmental impact and here are a couple of the ways we achieve this.

Wildflower Espresso is our physical coffee shop located in NSW, Australia.

Since the beginning, Wildflower has strongly encouraged the use of reusable cups, offering a 50c discount for customers that bring their own. We regularly see 20-30% of the coffee's we make going into reusable cups.

Our takeaway cups are not only recyclable but fully compostable ensuring that our landfill waste contribution is as small as possible.

More recently at Wildflower we have adopted the use a product called the Milk Juggler, it allows us to use 10L milk bladders rather than going through tonnes of plastic milk bottles, the invention of the Milk Juggler has reduced the use of 2L plastic milk bottles by 55,000,000 bottles and counting.

We also hold aside all our soft plastics waste and regularly take it to the local Red Cycle​ bin to be transformed into footpaths, fences, playgrounds and loads of other cool stuff.

Wildflower Space is our physical and online retail store.

One of our largest selling segments is our reusables range. Selling reusable cups, Coffee Cups, Tumblers and Drink Bottles discourages the use of single use plastics in every day life.

Each piece of our apparel is sold in a 100% compostable dust bag and shipped around the country in compostable mailers, ensuring the highest quality for the item while minimising the contribution to landfill waste.

Our courier has a commitment to carbon neutral postage by offsetting their carbon footprint 100% by planting trees, restoring endangered rainforest habitats or providing clean water access for communities in Africa.

Across the board we are also working hard to completely stop receiving any of our items in non-composable packaging, an example of this would be designing individual cardboard boxes to sell our products in rather than the plastic sleeves they would normally be transported in.

Partnering with other Ethical Companies

We do not handle the production of everything we sell from start to finish, for example our Coffee beans, cups and mailers are all brought in from other companies, much like the previous points this requires time, hard work and comes at a cost, but for us the cost of not taking these into account is a non-negotiable.

It's important to partner with other companies that support you and also support the standard of ethics you want to promote.

Here are some examples for us; and I have linked next to them their pages explaining how they run ethically themselves.

An Important Conclusion

Ethics in business is an infinitely hard challenge but it's something that we can proudly say we are improving on and developing as we grow as a business. It's hard, expensive and complicated, but keeping these 3 points top of mind in our decision making will help us to be sure to be always treating people with love and respect for the rest of Wildlfower's existence.

If you have made it this far I thank you, I didn't intend on this being a long or very detailed article but as I was writing it I realised how passionate I am about these points and wanted to be sure to be clear and concise in each one of them.

As I wrote back in the intro of this article; Next time you go online to buy something, big or small, take an extra minute to consider who you're supporting, have a deeper look and if necessary ask questions. Small changes make big differences.

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