Skip to main content

Managing ethical standards: When rhetoric meets reality

Buy Article:

$53.17 plus tax (Refund Policy)


In the last two decades, the private sector has been placed under intensifying pressure to ensure it operates in an environmentally and socially responsible manner. Companies have moved through various phases of response, starting with a ‘deny and defend' position, moving to ‘paying penance' through donations and philanthropy, and currently settling on risk management through mitigating the negative impacts of their business operations. Drawing on research undertaken by Oxfam International mainly in the retail sector, as well as in the coffee and pharmaceutical sector, this article argues that the current approach is, as yet, inadequate. Simply mitigating negative impacts through castigating intermediaries or suppliers does not contribute to sustainable solutions. For the private sector to meet corporate social responsibility pledges, companies need to pursue alternative business models that forge connectivity, coherence, and interdependence between their core business operations and their ethical and environmental commitments.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Oxfam GB, 274 Banbury Road, Oxford, OX2 7DZ, UK

Publication date: 2005-06-01

More about this publication?
  • Access Key
  • Free ContentFree content
  • Partial Free ContentPartial Free content
  • New ContentNew content
  • Open Access ContentOpen access content
  • Partial Open Access ContentPartial Open access content
  • Subscribed ContentSubscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed ContentPartial Subscribed content
  • Free Trial ContentFree trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more