How to write an ethics statement

Written by audrey farley
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How to write an ethics statement
Ethics statements are often revised and modified over time. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

An ethics statement is simply a declaration of the ethics, values and principles that guide behaviour and conduct. There are different kinds of ethics statements, such as personal and business ethics statements. Personal and business ethics statements are drafted both to express an ethics code to others and to bind yourself or your business to your own code.

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  1. 1

    Read sample ethics statements, depending on the kind of ethics statement you intend to write. If you are writing an ethics statement for a business or organisation, read ethics statements of businesses in the same field or industry. If you are writing a personal ethics statement, read the ethics statements of persons that share your mission.

  2. 2

    Reflect on the purpose of the ethics statement. Determine if the ethics statement is intended to regulate behaviour, to inspire behaviour and/or to share ethical values with the public.

  3. 3

    Read any existing mission statements. Consider how the ethics statement should support your or the business's mission and goals. Specifically, explain in the ethics statement how values and ethics shall guide the pursuit of mission and goals. Emphasise that mission and goals must be pursued only in a manner that accords with expressed ethics and values.

  4. 4

    Use general language to provide a broad overview of ethical standards. For instance, write about ethical values such as honesty, integrity, accountability and respect. Avoid addressing specific situations and scenarios, as an ethics statement is intended to apply broadly.

  5. 5

    Indicate how stated ethics shall be enforced, if the ethics statement will not be supplemented by a code of ethics. State who is bound to uphold ethics and who is responsible for enforcing ethics. Designate any ethical authorities, such as business leaders or boards.

  6. 6

    Provide for the methods of reviewing and revising the ethics statement. Indicate the process by which the statement may be amended. Designate the persons that are authorised to amend the statement.

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