You could argue that this was smart marketing (assuming there were some attractive young men in the model pool too, preferably not in short skirts and heels). He argued that corporate officers have no obligation to support such social causes as hiring hard-core employed to reduce poverty or reducing pollution beyond mandated by law. Instead, ethics focuses on the consequences of an action to others, and one of the chief ethical dilemmas is in considering when the harm done to others is justified by the benefit to self.

The Six Principles of PRME are inspired by internationally accepted values and provide an engagement structure for academic institutions to advance social responsibility through incorporating universal values into curricula and research. Then and only then can you begin to address the real obstacle to changing business ethics – the foundational belief systems of everyone within your company. The degree to which this is acceptable or unacceptable to ethics is largely a matter of degree.

In addition, all employees are required to report suspected misconduct within financial fraud, quality issues, Novo Nordisk Way and business ethics to the Audit Committee Secretariat through internal reporting lines. Corporate social responsibility”, or CSR, is typically understood as actions by businesses that are (i) not legally required, and (ii) intended to benefit parties other than the corporation (where benefits to the corporation are understood in terms of return on equity, return on assets, or some other measure of financial performance). If they contribute money to social development, it must be with the eye to increasing profit.

Globalization is the worldwide process by which the economic and social systems of nations have become connected. When each person’s actions taken in isolation have no clear and measurable negative effect on anyone in particular, everyone is much less likely to take responsibility for the collective result that billions of other people’s actions taken together may cause. It may come off as a dry subject but it is crucial to any company, because now more than ever people are taking a company’s ethics into mind when they buy their products or services. The application of those concepts is for all human act including business transactions.

The company could have came out of this looking good if they took responsibility for what happened and did as much as they could within reason to help relief people of the damages that they caused. In exchange for turning over more than 4,000 names of clients to the authorities, U.S. prosecutors finally dropped charges against UBS last year (click here for a previous blogpost on ethics at UBS).