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Promoting A World Ethical Standard

Robert W MacGregor is on a mission: to sell U.S. companies on adopting a code of business conduct if they don't already have one.

The guideline he IS suggesting is a world standard for ethical behavior—the Caux Round Table Principles for Business, adopted in Caux, Switzerland, two years ago by business leaders from Europe, Japan, and the United States.



MacGregor is president oi' the Minnesota Center for Corporate Responsibility (MCCK), an organization of more than 130 Minnesota companies that promotes corporate citizenship. The CUT Principles are based largely on what are known as the Minnesota Principles, a code of conduct developed at MCCK, which is affiliated with the University of St. Thomas, in Minneapolis.

If your small business wants to grow and expand, says MacGregor, "you can't neglect the global market." But, he says, "we don't have a level playing field" when it comes to ethics.

In some countries, he points out, bribery and other conduct that would be illegal in the United States are common in business. He contends that it's in the best interest of small businesses that ethical standards be adopted worldwide.

The principles call for support of multilateral trade agreements, protection and improvement ofthe environment, respect for international and domestic trade rules, and avoidance of illicit operations such as bribery and money laundering. The principles also urge respecting "the integrity ofthe culture of our customers" and fostering open markets for trade and investment.

The CRT Principles also emphasize kyosei, a Japanese concept of living and working together for the common good.

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