Why our ethical policy is important to us

27th Jul 2022

This year the Cooperative Bank are celebrating their 150th anniversary and 30 years since they formed their original customer-led ethical policy. This policy meant that they would refuse banking services to businesses involved in certain social and environmental issues. Around 12 years later (in 2004) we founded our web design business, Make Hay Ethical E-media and a year later Green Hosting. We had already decided that we wanted to run our business responsibly and with care for people, animals and the planet and inspired by the Cooperative Bank decided to implement an ethical policy too.

Geum flowers in a garden with the text 'Why our ethical policy is important to us'We haven't been around as long as the Coop but we do have a few (18 to be precise) years under our belts. To this day our ethical policy is still one of the most important aspects of our business. In our ethical policy we highlight the type of work we love to support as well as the practices we will not engage with via our services. This is not about judgement but about focussing our efforts on work that has a positive impact.

We believe there are other valuable reasons for implementing an ethical policy. A publically published ethical policy holds you accountable to your words and as a business owner the buck stops at you to ensure those words are actually actions. We ask our clients to agree to our ethical policy before signing up to our services as we do not wish to earn money from exploitative practices. This means our customers can also feel confident that they are not paying their hard-earned money to a company that profits from irresponsible or unethical business.

The list of issues in our ethical policy demonstrates our priorities and guides our work. You might wonder how necessary this is for a small business such as ours but in the early days we were approched on seperate occassions to work for companies linked to the fossil fuel industry and horse racing. We of course declined immediately. These days we are more well known for our ethos and customer base and such enquiries are not as likely. However it doesn't make our ethical policy any less relevant and acts as a means of continually provoking thought for ourselves as we continually learn and hopefully for others.

Is there anything you feel we should add to or change in our ethical policy? Do you have an ethical policy and what does it mean for your business? We'd love to hear from you.