Business ethics (also known as corporate or professional ethics) is a form of applied ethics that utilizes ethical principles to examine moral or ethical problems which can arise within a business environment. Business ethics applies to all aspects of business conduct and outlines the norms and values that govern ethical actions and behaviors of individuals in the business organization. 

The term ‘business ethics’ came into common use in the United States in the early 1970s. Interest in business ethics increased dramatically during the 1980s and 1990s, both within major corporations and within academia. For example, many major corporations today promote their commitment to ethical business practices under headings and roles such as codes of conduct, ethics & compliance departments, ethics officers, and social responsibility reports or charters.

Why are business ethics important?