I read a comment from designer Miles Newlyn where he mentioned he wouldn’t work with zoos or companies involved in warfare. I’ll be writing a chapter in my book about ethical considerations so was wondering about the stance of others. I asked this question on Twitter.
What type of business would you refuse to work with on ethical grounds?
Here are some of the answers that were shared (albeit with a crossover into morals, a point discussed in the comment thread below).
“I stay away from anything I don’t fully understand (and can’t see if they’re beneficial). Financial products are a good example.”
— Richard Baird
“Cigarette branding for obvious ethical implications.”
— Ben Powell
“Extremist religious/movement groups, family.”
— Phil Stringfellow
“Gambling. Their business model should not be dependant on the illness of addiction.”
“Online gambling and classified sites/businesses that include an adult services section (i.e. Village Voice Media).”
— Amara Poolswasdi
“Tobacco and religious organisations.”
— Mark Bradford
“Oil/petrochemical, tobacco, companies with shady practices such as Monsanto.”
— Abbas Arezoo
“Anything even remotely to do with the adult entertainment industry.”
— Tim Phelan
“Tobacco and gambling are the two I would never touch.”
— Guy Moorhouse
“Any type of business taking advantage of slave labour in third world countries.”
— Lejla Kuric
“Our ethical policy excludes companies with poor human rights/exploitation or environmental records. Nestle, BP, etc.”
— Dave McCourt
“If you work in the quasi-public sector (as I do) the only business’ you can refuse to work with are those operating illegally or those which can provably ‘bring [your] institution into disrepute’.”
— Gabriel M. Clarke
“I’ve just refused to do pics for an abbatoir training resource *vegetarian shudder* for obvious reasons.”
— Leanne J
— Josephine Jost
That last comment reminded me of one company I choose not to do business with.
Has your ethical stance ever ruled out (or won you) a client?
Update: 14 May 2012
My understanding of the difference between ethics and morals isn’t as good as it could be, so my thanks to Andy and Melissa for offering their help in the comment thread.
Crumpled note image via Thinkstock