Our code of ethics policy aims to give our employees guidelines on our business ethics and stance on various controversial matters. We trust you to use your better judgment, but we want to provide you with guidance if you’re unsure about how you should act (e.g. in cases of conflict of interest). We will also use this policy to outline the consequences of violating our code of ethics.
We were previously a Certified B Corporation (2018-2021). Certified B Corporations make a public, legally enshrined commitment to considering the impact of their decisions on their employees, suppliers, community, consumers, and environment. This is collectively referred to as the triple bottom line, which is embedded into our mission statement.
This policy applies to everyone we employ or have business relations with.
This includes individual people such as employees, interns, volunteers, but also business entities, such as vendors, enterprise customers, partners, public sector agencies or venture capital companies.
Note that our code of ethics is slightly different than our code of conduct.
Our code of ethics are based on common principles:
- Respect for Others – Treat people as you want to be treated.
- Respect for Environment – Reduce or offset any impacts to the environment
- Integrity and Honesty – Tell the truth and avoid any wrongdoing to the best of your ability.
- Justice – Make sure you’re objective and fair and don’t disadvantage others.
- Lawfulness – Know and follow the law at all times.
- Competence and Accountability – Work hard and be responsible for your work.
- Teamwork – Collaborate, share and ask for help.
Respect for Others
We are committed to using our business to improve the local community, and help achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We will help our customers and stakeholders identify ways to measure and align their product and services to these goals.
Respect everyone you interact with. Be kind, polite, empathetic and understanding. You must respect others’ personal space, opinions and privacy. Any kind of violence is strictly prohibited and will result in immediate termination. You’re also not allowed to harass or victimize others.
Try to put yourself in someone else’s place. How would you feel if someone behaved a specific way to you? If the answer is “I wouldn’t like it much” or “I would never let them behave like that to me”, then we don’t tolerate this behavior no matter the person it comes from.
If someone, be it customer, colleague or stakeholder, is offensive, demeaning or threatening toward you or someone you know, report them immediately to management. You can also report rudeness and dismissiveness if they become excessive or frequent. We will not hesitate to terminate our best employee or cancel work with our best customer if they violate our ethics.
Respect for Environment
We are committed to using our business to improve the environment. We will help our customers and stakeholders identify ways to measure and reduce their impact on the environment.
Employees should minimize their environmental impact at work, whether in the office, on travel or work at home. You should select environmentally preferred office supplies and products (compostable, recycled content, used, refurbished, reusable, minimal packaging, etc).
Efforts should be made to minimize the use of water, pollution, solid waste to landfill (including food waste), chemicals, toxins, hazardous waste and energy. Any electronic waste (e-waste) or hazardous waste must be recycled or disposed of properly when purchased for any physical or virtual offices.
We recommend all employees review and implement as many suggestions from the City of Portland’s Sustainability at Work program.
Service providers, business partners and suppliers should be evaluated based on their commitment to sustainability and social responsibility in addition to their ability to provide timely and quality work.
Integrity and Honesty
First, always keep in mind our organization’s mission. We all work together to achieve specific outcomes. Your behavior should contribute to our goals, whether financial or organizational.
Be honest and transparent when you act in ways that impact other people (e.g. taking strategic decisions or deciding on layoffs). We don’t tolerate malicious, deceitful or petty conduct. Lies and cheating are huge red flags and, if you’re discovered, you may face progressive discipline or immediate termination depending on the damage you did.
Stealing from the company or other people is illegal. If you’re caught, you will face repercussions depending on the severity of your actions. For example, if you steal office supplies, you may receive a reprimand or demotion (at a minimum), while if you steal money or data (e.g. engaging in fraud or embezzlement), you will get fired and face legal consequences. The decision is at management’s discretion on a case-by-case basis.
Don’t act in a way that exploits others, their hard work or their mistakes.
Give everyone equal opportunity and speak up when someone else doesn’t.
We strive to select employees, suppliers and customers from diverse and underrepresented populations.
Be objective when making decisions that can impact other people, including when you’re deciding to hire, promote or fire someone.
Be sure that you can justify any decision with written records, data or examples.
Seek and use the most objective methods in any case; for example, when interviewing candidates, ask the same interview questions to all of them and avoid judging non-job-related criteria, like dress, appearance, etc.
When exercising authority, be fair. Don’t show favoritism toward specific employees and be transparent when you decide to praise or reward an employee.
Any direct or indirect reporting relationship with a relative (spouse, family member, in-laws, or partner) must be approved by management.
If you need to discipline an employee, be sure to have prepared a case that you can present to management. You must not retaliate against employees or applicants (such as in cases when they’ve filed complaints) as this is forbidden by law.
Be just toward customers or vendors. If you think our company was in the wrong in a specific instance, don’t try to cover it up or accuse the other side. Discuss with your manager to find solutions that can benefit both sides.
Depending on your role and profession, there might be various laws you need to observe. You must also follow laws regarding fraud, bribery, corruption, environmental protection, child labor and any kind of assault. You are also obliged to avoid doing business with unlawful organizations, including customers, suppliers and partners.
When you’re preparing contracts, clauses, disclaimers or online copy that may be governed by law (such as consent forms), please ask verification from management before finalizing or signing anything.
Follow all confidentiality, data protection and cybersecurity best practices. You must not expose, disclose or endanger information of customers, employees, stakeholders or our business.
Competence and Accountability
We all need to put a healthy amount of effort in our work. Not just because we’re all responsible for the organization’s success, but also because slacking off affects our colleagues. Incomplete or working without a sense of urgency might hinder other people’s work, or cause them to shoulder the burden themselves. This comes in direct conflict with our respect and integrity principles.
We also expect you to take up opportunities for learning and development, either on-the-job or via educational material or training. If you are unsure how you can achieve this, have an open discussion with your manager.
Take responsibility for your actions. We all make mistakes or need to make tough decisions and it’s important we own up to them. We seek to create a culture of psychological safety to bring up problems and admit mistakes without fear of repercussions. Failing to be accountable on a regular basis or in important situations (e.g. a crucial mistake in our financial records) will result in termination. If you take responsibility and come up with ways to fix your mistakes where possible, you will be in a far better position.
We expect all employees and leaders to continually improve the work processes they are involved with, with priority emphasis on processes that impact our customers and stakeholders.
Working well with others is a virtue, rather than an obligation. Those who work well in teams will excel in our organization. You will certainly get to work autonomously and be focused on your own projects and responsibilities. But, you should also be ready to collaborate with and help others.
Be generous with your expertise and knowledge. Be open to learning and evolving. Our agility as an organization is critical for success, so we need everyone to be able to teach others what they do, so we can have multiple people able to successfully serve our customers.
If days go by without you consulting or brainstorming with anyone, you are missing out on opportunities for excellence, and will avoid problems and resistance to change. Instead, work with others and don’t hesitate to ask for help when you need it.