Southwire believes it is important to raise the level of awareness of megatrends such as Sustainability & Climate Change and Health and Well-Being. Megatrends are the most impactful and long-term global shifts affecting businesses, society and government. With this article, we look at the trend of Declining Trust in Institutions, and how it helps inform our outlook for the future needs of our company, our customers and our communities through ethics.
As a private, family-owned company, Southwire’s commitment to transparency and ethics comes from our deep belief in adhering to the highest possible standards of responsible business behavior, rather than pressure from external shareholders. In fact, Ethics & Transparency is one of Southwire’s 13 most significant sustainability topics on which we have reported for the past few years. Our longstanding ethics practices reflect the need for increased trust identified by TrendOne, the World Economic Forum (WEF), and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Public Demand for Responsible Business
TrendOne describes the current social climate of distrust, stating, “the basis of trust in central institutions is breaking up.” Given numerous avenues for the public to disseminate and receive information — either factual or inaccurate — institutions face higher levels of scrutiny and new expectations for accountability and transparency in their operations and those of their suppliers.
Increasingly, consumers demand greater visibility into companies’ ethics and values. Organizations like Ethisphere and JUST Capital evolved to meet this need. JUST Capital, a nonprofit research firm launched in 2013, conducted a survey of more than 50,000 Americans — intended to be updated annually — to “capture the voice of the public” on ethical business. More than 70 percent of respondents said that information on how “just” companies are would influence their purchasing decisions.
Ethics & Transparency in Southwire’s Operations
While Southwire isn’t eligible for the JUST 100 list, which only includes publicly traded companies, our bold five-year sustainability goals include our commitment to “ensure the highest standard of ethical business practices within all of our operations.” To demonstrate that commitment, Southwire aims to “achieve recognition on Ethisphere’s World’s Most Ethical Companies list by 2021.” Attaining this accolade will require Southwire to display best-in-class management and performance across our ethics and compliance program, sustainability efforts, company-wide culture of ethics, governance mechanisms and leadership, innovation and reputation.
Many of these practices and initiatives are already underway at Southwire. We go beyond compliance in our ethics training and publicly disclose our supply chain policies on Human Trafficking and Conflict Minerals. You can read more about our management of Ethics & Transparency in our Sustainability Report.