Moral Values and Codes of Ethics of the World’s Ten Biggest Food and Beverage Companies

  • Michele Mazzieri University of Parma, Department of Economics, Parma, Italy
  • Katia Furlotti University of Parma, Department of Economics, Parma, Italy

Abstract

The aims of this paper is to analyse the codes of ethics of the most important companies operating in the food sector, in order to appreciate the attribute, the contents and the language of the code and then try to understand the aptitude of the code for assuring that moral values move the companies’ actions and strategies. The code of ethics is a basic tool of corporate governance, through which rules of corporate behaviour are defined and communicated internally and externally from the company. Many international researches about codes of ethics – summarised in the theoretical framework – are a starting point for this paper. In particular, our paper is focused on the language used in the codes in order to outline the most important issue regulated in these tools: principle and value, normative issue, and so on. The research considers the codes of the ten big companies that dominate the food market (the “Big Ten”): Associated British Foods (ABF), Coca-Cola, Danone, General Mills, Kellogg’s, Mars, Mondelēz International (ex Kraft Foods), Nestlé, PepsiCo and Unilever. The analysis examines the vocabulary of each code in order to identify the “bag of words” by extrapolating the special words and the ethical and moral values that characterize the codes. We want to identify the most important information with regard to the issues regulated in the code and we expect to evaluate to what extent the language used, which contains the ethical and moral values of the sector, can represent a status both at the individual company level both at the sector level. Specifically, we arise the following research questions: RQ1: Are there differences among the contents and the languages used in the codes of ethics of the “Big Ten” analysed? RQ2: What are the most important matters regulated in the codes? and the most important values considered? RQ3: Can be matters and values considered at company level or at the sector level? It is possible to define a model for contents and language of codes of ethics for the food sector?

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Published
2017-08-16
How to Cite
Mazzieri, M., & Furlotti, K. (2017). Moral Values and Codes of Ethics of the World’s Ten Biggest Food and Beverage Companies. European Scientific Journal, ESJ, 13(10). https://doi.org/10.19044/esj.2017.v13n10p%p