Torch Awards: Good business practices add bottom-line benefits

There is a “growing awareness by companies that consumers prefer to patronize ‘good citizen organizations,’ firms that act responsibly and contribute to society. A recent survey, for example, indicated that nearly 90 percent of consumers surveyed would be more likely to buy from the company with the best reputation for social responsibility when quality, service, and price are equal among competitors.”

This is a statement taken from the book “Integrity Management,” co-authored by Dr. O.C. Ferrell, distinguished professor of marketing and ethics and head of the Colorado State University ethics department.

When searching for tangible bottom-line benefits for building an ethical business, one needs only to begin studying some corporations that have been recognized for “good citizenship” or business ethics. O.C. Ferrell refers to Dale Kurschner’s research that talks about Campbell Soup, Coca-Cola, Adolph Coors, Home Depot, Microsoft and a number other of other highly successful companies.

Locally, companies that were recognized for Marketplace Ethics in the First Torch Awards of the Mountain States region in 1999 were:

* Water Pik and Bisetti’s Italian Restaurant in Fort Collins.

* Weld County Garage in Greeley.

* T.J. Bummers Family Restaurant in Sterling.

* Western Clean Up Corporation in Fort Morgan.

* Office Services Unlimited in Glenwood Springs.

* Vail Valley Ace Hardware in Vail.

The basic economic and legal foundations of social responsibility require that an organization be profitable and operate within the law. But, ethical responsibilities go further; they require an organization to recognize and practice what is right, just and fair in business activities.

In “Integrity Management,” Ferrell lists the five best practices that can lead to improved financial performance. These practices include:

1. Progressive workplace practices that reduce turnover.

2. Support of causes that people find important.

3. Aggressive environmental practices that help ethical organizations outperform “high polluters” 80 percent of the time.

4. Sincere community ties that create stronger employee and customer commitment.

5. Employee ownership.

No surprise, these practices are all related to ethical responsibility.

The Better Business Bureau was founded on the concept of ethical businesses regulating themselves and fostering better business practices in their communities.  The Second Annual Mountain States Better Business Bureau Torch Awards for Marketplace Ethics will be held Feb. 17, 2000 at the Marriott Hotel in Fort Collins.

The Platinum Sponsor for this year’s event is Pinnacol Assurance. The Gold Sponsor is Public Service Company of Colorado, and Media Sponsor is The Northern Colorado Business Report. Winners of the regional competition will be eligible for a National Torch Award given by the Council of Better Business Bureaus later in the year.

Corporate table sponsorships (which include corporate exposure at the event) or individual tickets are available through the BBB for this prestigious event. Proceeds go to the BBB Education Foundation. Call (970) 224-4222, ext. 122 in Larimer County or (800) 564-0370, ext. 122 outside of Larimer County.