Morality in the Marketplace – Ethics in Business


Smith’s moral ideas were revolutionary at the time. But is it possible to practice them in the marketplaces of today’s world? This is a Whole Foods Market in Austin, Texas. There are over 400 Whole Foods Markets in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. They sell products from around the world. Their “Whole Trade Guarantee” promises that consumers can shop with a conscience. Most businesspeople are honest and ethical. In fact, it turns out that the more ethical they are, the better the company performance. In the cutthroat supermarket business, it’s important to stake out your own territory. The Company’s motto is “Whole Foods, Whole People, Whole Planet.” At the center of this amazing story is Co-Founder John Mackey. To understand Whole Foods Market you have to understand him. The original vision for Whole Foods was, very simply is: we wanted to sell healthy food to people, earn a living, and have fun. The higher purpose of Whole Foods has become a lot deeper and more complex than it was back 34 years ago. And that brings us to mission. Mission is something Mackey takes seriously. It’s not just platitudes for a wall plaque in a corporate lobby. It’s the statement that embodies his ethical perspective. We want to sell healthy food to people, help people to reach their highest potential through having good health. We also have a sense that the people that work for us should be flourishing and should be happy in their work, and we also feel a responsibility for the larger communities that we’re trading with.

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