Researched by Leora Johnson and Natalie Dale
Companies adopt voluntary behavior codes to avoid regulation and oversight, only to end up violating them. These voluntary corporate codes were born out of corporate misbehavior that resulted in public relations disasters. Codes have worked to preserve corporate reputation, power and political control while avoiding transparency, accountability, and government oversight. Indeed, it seems that the more harmful the product and the greater industry’s wrongdoing, the wider the proliferation of voluntary codes of conduct. The alcohol and tobacco industries are especially aware of the charge that they seduce minors, both to develop brand loyalty and to boost sales.
“Absolving Your Sins and CYA: Corporations Embrace Voluntary Codes of Conduct” Anne Landman, Center for Media and Democracy, 8/18/2008