Kingfisher plc is a company that focuses on home improvement retails and it is ranked as Europe's largest and the world's third largest company. It has several brands around the world, they are, B&Q, Castorama, Brico Depot, and Screwfix which have been deemed as the world's best home improvement stores. As a global company, Kingfisher plc has a reputable position and the company applies different types of strategies, some of which are delivering values and creating the leader. To operate professionally, Kingfisher plc must establish and abide by its code of conduct. Code of conduct is a set of regulations of the behavior which guide the company in its business actions (Nijhof et al. 2003). Kingfisher plc, as a profit maker, is required to fulfill its corporate social responsibility (CSR) for its surrounding community to make the world a better place. One real and down-to-earth program established in 2012 to sustain the continuous social responsibility is its Net Positive Program. This program is meant to render more help for the society.
Summary of the work
This work focuses on the critical analysis of the Code of Conduct of Kingfisher plc; how the code is written, what the rationales are, what the code may bring about in its consequences, and how far it covers the whole aspects of Kingfisher plc in its practices. In addition, this analysis will examine three key components that are non-negotiable, among which are professionalism, fairness and integrity that demonstrate the company's values and its business ethics.
Interpretation of the work
This code of conduct describes how Kingfisher plc is supposed to handle ethical problems and responsibilities it may have to deal with in the short and long run. Having been reviewed, the code of conduct of Kingfisher plc portrays their general rules and lack several specific elements when compared with other companies' codes of conduct such as Lockheed Martin's Setting the Standard: Code of Ethics and Business Conduct (Martin, 2011). The following discussion will highlight several weaknesses and strengths of the Code of Conduct of Kingfisher plc.
Code of Conduct according to Nijhof et al. (2003) should contain executable points or in a simpler way, be practical and specific enough to execute when a company needs it the most. The Code of Conduct from Kingfisher plc contains plainly general points which function to explain to or address the internal as well as external audience about how the company operates within its environment. As a general guide, what Kingfisher Plc has written down is readable and exactly this is what also occurs in the similar setting or type of a business. Yet, the Code of Conduct of a company must reflect the values or the culture of the company itself which distinguishes it from other companies of the same field. This is due to the fact that every company with its own vision and mission encounter different challenges and these challenges certainly shape the company’s ways in solving problems. Some companies may write their code of conduct to fulfill their other objectives and not employ the codes as their guidance for their behaviors. Sometimes this is done in order to save their faces and to maintain their corporate image. When a company truly means to be socially responsible, its members must be able to implement as detailed as possible their codes in running the business in all its legal aspects (Kolk and Tulder, 2002).
This Code also contains general headings that are named after the situations, that the company usually faces, for instance, Gifts and Entertainment, Anti-Bribery and Corruption, Safeguarding Confidential Information and Personal Data, and Our Ethical Behavior and Corporate Responsibility. As observed, the headings given overlap with one another. One of the points mentions 'Gifts and Entertainment'; meanwhile, another section discusses 'Anti-Bribery and Corruption' – both of which could be better classified under the same heading, for example, Corruption, Collusion and Nepotism. In this section the company can discuss the code of conduct in several types of corruption, collusion and nepotism. Furthermore, reading the materials from the Decision Room section one can detect an implicit fear of Kingfisher plc about their company's being reported in mass media. This condition of being reported in mass media is considered to be a fatal blow to Kingfisher Plc once a flaw in the company has been publicly exposed. In this case, through the Decision Room, Kingfisher expects to minimize or solve problems by two possible options, either hiding the problems when no one whistleblows them or solving the problem when one exposes them in mass media.
Still, despite the weaknesses, there are some strengths Kingfisher plc owns - its definite programs with clearly set objectives for a set period of time. Kingfisher plc has begun their project in 2012 with A Net Positive. The Net Positive itself is a program in which Kingfisher plc contributes some of their profits for their Corporate Social Responsibility Program activities to support the community they work in. Yet, this Net Positive is not explained in the Code of Conduct of Kingfisher plc. The Net Positive – is a program which contains four pillars – timber, energy, innovation, and communities. The Net Positive uses 'The Road to 2050' in order to monitor their progress on each aforementioned pillar. Net Positive is a commitment Kingfisher plc undertakes to produce more environmentally friendly products on sustainability basis. This company also employs the latest technology to ensure the success of the Net Positive business. Each of the four pillars set on the foundations of Kingfisher plc are established with their own vision, mission, and 2020 target based on the information from Kingfisher plc Net Positive pdf brochure. All these four pillars stand for the betterment of our nature or ecology through reforestation, zero carbon, no waste, and community building.
The three key components that demonstrate the company's values and business ethics are professionalism, fairness, and integrity as mentioned in the Code of Conduct of Kingfisher plc. These three elements together underlie all the activities occurring in the company. In every sphere or domain, Kingfisher Plc looks upon these three values in order to stick to their principles and to fulfill the needs of the market legally and responsibly.
The professionalism of Kingfisher Plc is shown through the equality and the attitude maintenance among the employees of Kingfisher Plc without being emotionally involved person-to-person, but rather emotionally involved with their responsibilities through their devotions and achievements at work.
The fairness code impacts on partnerships and collaborations with the company’s partners or suppliers who support Kingfisher plc home improvement retail business. The fairness concept itself also outlines the relationship between the society and Kingfisher plc – they both become closer through the eco-bonding that is created by Kingfisher plc.
The third component is integrity which, according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary online, is defined as 'adherence to moral values'. This component underlies all the decisions made at Kingfisher plc from the lowest to the highest levels in all activities the company undertakes.
In conclusion, Kingfisher plc highly stresses on the importance of community to succeed with the company and vice versa. The Code of Conduct of this company does not highlight in details its relationship with its employees, but rather contain general points which function to explain to or address the internal as well as external audience about how the company operates within its environment. A good Code of Conduct should be balanced in managing the affairs of both the company's internal and external affairs. It will be even better if a company is able to cater for its employees' interests first and then the outsiders'. The foundation of a company starts from having very healthy employees physically and psychologically or in other words, it would be better if Kingfisher plc starts from the inside out.
Physical betterment for the employees may come in the forms of promising benefits, clear career tracks, comfortable working situations, and further trainings. Meanwhile, psychologically, employees need to feel safe, protected, and understood. To ensure all these needs are fulfilled, company regulations need to stress on the employees' welfare programs so that the employees may discover happiness at work – once again physically and psychologically. In such a condition, their working qualities will improve which finally lead into higher productivity. So far, the Code of Conduct at Kingfisher plc related to the interests of social responsibilities is of no doubts in its commitments since they have been very strong and well established in their Net Positive program. This company has been fully devoted to give their best for its surroundings.