Business Ethics

B Resource Guide:
Creating a Code of Ethics
B Resource Guide:
Creating a Code of Ethics
What’s in this Guide:
I. Definition
II. Why Have a Code of Ethics?
III. Generic Template/Outline
IV. How to Implement a Code of Ethics
V. Some Advice on Developing a Code of Ethics
VI. Links to Code of Ethics Examples, by Industry
VII. More Resources

I. Definition
A Code of Ethics (also known as a Code of Conduct) is a formal document that establishes behavioral expectations
for the company and the people who work there.
II. Why Have a Code of Ethics?
• to define accepted/acceptable behaviors;
• to promote high standards of practice;
• to provide a benchmark for members to use for self evaluation;
• to establish a framework for professional behavior and responsibilities;
• as a vehicle for occupational identity;
• as a mark of occupational maturity;
III. Generic Template/Outline:
Codes can take various forms. We’ve included here a generic outline that can be customized. A more detailed
template is available at
1. Preface or Introduction
(signed by the Chairman or Chief Executive Officer or both)
Start with a sentence on the purpose of the Statement - mention the values that are important to the top management
in the conduct of the business such as integrity, responsibility and reputation. Describe the leadership commitment
in maintaining high standards both within the organization and in its dealings with others.
Set out the role of the company in the community and end with a personal endorsement of the code and the
expectation that the standard set out in it will be maintained by all involved in the organization.
Last updated: 11/3/2007 page 2 of 7
B Resource Guide:
Creating a Code of Ethics
Last updated: 11/3/2007 page 3 of 7

2. Key areas to include
A. The Purpose and Values of the Business
The service, which is being provided - a group of products, or set or services - financial objectives and the
business’ role in...