Safe consumer

After companies realize the reasons for ethics, how to incorporate the ethical dimension into their marketing decision making process is crucial. Formal corporate policies and audit are useful avenues to install ethical values into marketing organisation, especially in product management ethics. Murphy (2005) suggests that corporate ethics statement is prevalent used because it is a public manifestation of organisational commitment to ethics.

Thus, it is has a significant influence on implementing ethics. Among the four types of ethics statements: corporate credos, codes of ethics, value statements and Internet privacy policy, value statement contributes more to product management. Usually, companies set out their corporate values refer to quality, customer, and a range of employee issues. However, Murphy, P.E et al (2005) believe customer commitment/ focus should be the dominant moral value driving marketing organisations. Value-statements are intended to set out the guiding principles of the firm and they often stem from the company’s mission and give direction to it. Hanna Anderson, an American clothing company producing mainly on children’s wear sets the value statement ‘Soft quality for kids and families, inspired by our Swedish heritage’.

The Swedish tradition of ‘choosing the best quality she could find – and using things for a long, long time!’ taught by founder’s grandmother Hanna Anderson has been kept until now. “What started as a passion for beautiful quality in children’s clothing has grown up into an inspiration that guides the comfort and quality of everything we make.” ( cited 30/11/08) Hanna Anderson’s value statement is more than the quality of products; it shows its care and commitment to consumers. Although value statement is not explicit ethic statement, it reveals claims about the company’s fundamental principles such as integrity, commitment, etc. Thus these principles will guide the organisation do right decision.

Besides the general commitment, there is another practical tool for implementation ethics that is ‘audit’. An ethical audit for marketing gauges the ethical health of the marketing department and its activities. Murphy (2005) suggests that “all major marketing decisions should be evaluated through and orderly sequence of steps in an objective fashion every few years”. Philosophical, functional, compliance audits directly relate to product management ethics. The philosophical approach involves asking questions about the duties to stakeholders in a marketing decision and about whether the decision violates any written or unwritten obligations to these parties. If manufactures keep on asking whether they violate the obligations to users or not, then the quality of products can be guaranteed.

Functional auditing pertains to the functional decisions that marketing manager make in devising and implementing marketing strategies. A battery of questions concerned in marketing mix is raised. There are questions relate to the core product and the product offer. E.g. does the label contain adequate amounts of information for safe consumer use? Compliance audit focuses on questions dealing with codes and other formal policies.

A recent study conducted by Williamson et al (2006) confirms that environmental regulation leads to better environmental procedures and practices. The main reason may be the penalties for non-compliance so that those who disregard the environment cannot obtain an economic advantage. To meet the specific requirements of legislation, formal policies and procedures have to be established within organizations to improve environmental outcomes. (Gadenne, D.L, et al, 2009) For example, ‘Is there consistent enforcement of standards and punishments in the organisation?’ is posed in the ethical compliance audit organisational questions mentioned by Murphy, P.E et al (2005). Small and medium sized organisation may also be required to be ISO14000 compliant in order to be considered as suppliers to other organizations.

To make sure the ethical audit is practically useful; there are certain issues suggested by Mulphy, (2005) to concern. The easiest way to employ our ethical audit is to compile the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ answers and calculate the percentage. If the final percentage of yes falls below 70 percent, the company should review the ethics of its marketing. It is realized that no firm is perfect, there are undoubtedly area that companies need to improve. The purpose of ethics auditing is point out questions for companies to concern. Additionally, the auditing questionnaire should be answered by more than one person. That is the answer should be generally collected in the company, in the purpose of accurate. Another concern is that the questionnaire should be conducted every year or two. A regular check can help reflect the truth. (Mulphy, 2005)


Product ethical management is a crucial issue for the public to concern, because everyone is a consumer. There are varieties of products exist in market from satisfying our substantial needs such as foods, clothes to our spiritual needs e.g. books, computers, and even the invisible products e.g. patents, brands. No matter from the stakeholder’s view or the duty based frame, manufactures should be responsible for consumers. To help companies complement well on product ethical management, companies set value statement to guide their activities. In addition, they should check if their activities follow the auditing questionnaires regularly. The purpose of auditing is for companies to find out existing problems and solve them.


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