A community agreeing their guiding principles: Stone Soup code of ethics
Written by Rowena Hennigan, Communications Officer
Day to day I check in with my professional behaviours, that is, my internal guide with my standards, my morals for business behaviours. That is my own validation, my own internal test on how to behave (or how to try to behave). As one person, it is a relatively simple exchange! So, how did a socially-driven international organisation like Stone Soup Consulting gain consensus on their moral principles and create clear guidelines on their community behaviour?
The Stone Soup Consulting code of ethics was published this month. The result of 16 months of consultation, involving the whole community of “stone-soupers”, it is a remarkable achievement (involving more than 50 consultants, based across 9 countries). An outsider can dip into this document and get a view into the soul of Stone Soup, an insight into their ethos, philosophy and integrity. This code serves as the basis for inquiries, ethical debates and/or dilemmas on the community’s professional practice. In summary, it guides and advises action and behaviours, underpinning their organisational culture.
Introducing Stone Soup Consulting
Stone Soup Consulting is all about maximising social value. A socially-driven international company whose mission is to help optimise strategy creation and implementation for organisations so that they achieve their greatest social impact. This mission is realised in a highly collective and collaborative set of processes, using a wide range of independent social consultants, who make up the Stone Soup community. All of the community work remotely (coming together in person on client sites to deliver project), therefore explicit and clear communication is paramount in all community interactions. What better way to strengthen and unite this community than to create clear set of ethics and guidelines for behaviour. Stone Soup Consulting is also a certified B Corp and in 2018, it was recognised by B Lab as one of the Best B Corps for the world in the customers category.
Why create a code of ethics?
Founded in 2008, Stone Soup Consulting values include collaboration, honesty, integrity, inclusion, diversity, innovation, responsibility, accountability and transparency. In 2018 (on their 10th year anniversary), it was the perfect point for Stone Soup to reflect on these values and broach some of the issues in their everyday working life. During their various projects, many ethical dilemmas are encountered including: diversity, transparency, loyal competition, public responsibility, moral dilemmas, public accountability etc. As their project portfolio and experience built, it was apparent that a code of ethics was required to gather these learnings to guide the community’s daily behaviours and to assist in dealing with these challenges.
The consultation process
A taskforce was created to drive the creation of the code of ethics. The process started by creating a draft code, followed by consultation amongst the wider community (including a survey, calls for electronic feedback and virtual meetings) to facilitate debate, feedback and actionable descriptions of behaviours. Independent experts were also involved to review and advise on the code. Bernardo Garcia from the taskforce commented, “One of the greatest challenges of the process was taking the principles outlined in the code and translating them into actual behaviours and practices which could be applied”. In the end, the hard work and determination paid off, the community now has a code of ethics, which strengthens their ethos and truly assists in guiding behaviours. Read the Stone Soup Consulting code of ethics here.