These are my set of six commitments for ethical stakeholder engagement, in the form of a charter. I invite you to sign it, to share this charter (you can download a copy here), and to encourage colleagues to sign it too. Please do make your commitment as a comment, below.
First Commitment: Respect
- To always respect all of your stakeholders.
- To seek the insights and knowledge that your stakeholders possess, and to consider it objectively.
- To assume the best of your stakeholders – in particularly, that they act with positive intentions, even when their choice of behaviours is poor.
- To allow your stakeholders to make their own decisions, free of any manipulation or coercion.
Second Commitment: Integrity
- To always act with the utmost integrity.
- To consider the consequences of your actions and take responsibility for your choices.
- To be accountable for your actions to your stakeholders.
- To act in good faith, disdaining to act solely in your own interests and, where they overlap with those of stakeholders, to declare your interests openly.
Third Commitment: Equality
- To disdain unethical discrimination of all kinds, respecting people for who they are, rather than for the category into which they fall.
- To offer or withhold no favour that is predicated upon either personal liking or animus.
- To act in accordance with the basic human rights of each stakeholder.
- To work towards a fair sharing of gains and losses among stakeholders.
Fourth Commitment: Minimise Harm
- To always act to safeguard the wider interests of your stakeholder group.
- To strive to identify unintended consequences of your actions.
- To balance with care the conflicting interests of different stakeholders, and to be open about the implications of those different interests.
- To promote informed decision-making and to commit to facilitating the transparent processes and that will support it.
Fifth Commitment: Tell No Lies
- To always remember that honesty is the only ethical policy.
- To present the whole truth: bad as well as good, and to tell only the truth.
- To avoid deliberately exaggerating, diminishing, omitting, or selectively interpreting the evidence.
- To let your stakeholders know all of the consequences of the choices they might make, including the adverse ones.
Sixth Commitment: Honour the Rules
- To always act in accordance with laws, regulations and rules that are imposed through due process, whether by nations, states, administrative regions, or the organisations to which you are bound.
- To respect contractual commitments that you and your stakeholders have made, or that have been made by organisations to which you or your stakeholders are bound.
- To meet the requirements of all properly appointed people who have been assigned seniority over you by the organisations to which you are bound.
- To remain mindful that your ethical and moral duties can sometimes transcend points 1, 2 or 3 of the sixth commitment, and that you are, at all times, responsible for your choices.
I freely make these commitments on this day: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . date . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Signed: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .