Since the 18th century, businesses owned and run by Quakers have earned a reputation for trust, integrity, fair trading, care of their employees and betterment of the local community and society at large. Many of these businesses were hugely successful and, while no longer under the control of their founders' families, remain household names.
While working conditions are much better than in the 18th and 19th centuries, the world of work and business is still an imperfect one.
Today, many people are so dismayed by the unethical business practices they see around them that they believe that business itself is unethical. Some consider that making a profit is wrong. Those in business – ourselves included – know that to be sustainable a business must be profitable. But we also know that what a business does to make a profit affects individuals, communities and the environment – for good or bad.
The purpose of this book is to act as a guide and inspiration to running a better and ethical business for the benefit of all its stakeholders.
Quakers use a booklet entitled Advices and Queries as a challenge and inspiration in their personal lives. This book uses the same format. The advices and queries offered are not rules or requirements; rather they represent ideals to aspire to and standards of excellence to guide us.
Living up to these standards is not always the easiest course, but they have a practical as well as an ethical benefit. Businesses known for their ethical conduct enjoy benefits from a good reputation, customer loyalty and a more committed workforce.
You are invited to use these advices and queries alongside our methods for decision making to challenge and inspire your work and business.