An Ethical Framework
Posted on April 25 2016
This is an increasingly hot topic in the business realm. Do businesses have to conform to an ethical or moral framework when doing business in the public sphere? Or is profit the only motivating factor?
To simplify how I view this question, I will provide a personal anecdote.
YOUnity Clothing is a for profit company. However, I understand that some people may not want we sell but still want to be apart of the solution. So, I decided to collect donations in order for people to be able to participate without having to purchase something they may not need.
By law, I must report all these donations as profit on my books. This means I must pay sales tax when I transfer these donations from my hand to that of the Austin Dog Alliance. Now this is where the dilemma comes in. I have multiple options to abuse this system.
1) I could pocket all the donations without reporting them. I could rationalize this by saying "since I dont pay myself (yet) then I deserve this money for my personal time spent on the business. No sales tax paid and I get money.
2) I could inject all donations into my company as "capital" and just use it to grow the company. I still avoid paying the sales tax and I increase my ability to provide a better experience and service to my customers.
Both scenarios above are completely plausible but are unethical. Since these donations were given to me with full faith that it would be helping veterans and the Austin Dog Alliance, I cannot justify either of them. But many people would take advantage of this situation. However, I hurt the ability to actually help a veteran, our primary mission. Do I help my situation or do I hold true to the mission?
To bring this to a conclusion, I report all donations a profit, pay sales tax on them and transfer that money to the Austin Dog Alliance. Why? Because thats the right thing to do. I will not personally benefit of the suffering of others. Period.
My mission is to create change and provide avenues to do so, I will not deter from this mission. My brothers and sisters are suffering, that donation could save a life. That means more to me than putting money in my pocket.
Drive on my friends.