While it was difficult to find a code of conduct or ethics related to my discipline of the forests products industry, the South African Institute of Forestry provides a good example. The code of ethics consists of 10 statements that outline the values and purpose of the professional organization. The code of conduct states the desire to benefit the forest products industry (“uphold the dignity and reputation of the industry”), as well as society as a whole (“Have the public interest at heart in all matters”). The code of conduct also values the pursuit of truth and knowledge. This is demonstrated by the statement, “Strive to disseminate a true understanding of the forest and forest product industry.”
In addition to containing broad, mission statement sentences, the code of conduct provides specific guidelines for how to act when engaging in activity related to the forest products industry. For example, the code of conduct directs individuals to clearly state whose authority they are acting in when issuing statements on forest product policy or technical matters, to base one’s testimony as an expert witness on “adequate knowledge of the subject matter,” and to “clearly set out the possible consequences” if one’s professional judgment is “overruled by a non-technical authority.”
I found this code of conduct interesting for several reasons. First, I was impressed by the wide range of topics and values it covers in only 10 sentences. This code of conduct’s focus on the pursuit and knowledge reminded me of our earlier discussion of university mission statements and my prior blog comparing two university mission statements. The professional code of conduct’s “Strive to disseminate a true understanding” seemed similar in some ways to UW-Madison’s mission statement sentences about the pursuit of knowledge.
Finally, I appreciated how the South African Forest Industry’s code of conduct had a wide scope that covered the impact and responsibility that the individual professional has on the forest products industry, as well as the impact and responsibility that the industry has on society. I appreciated the wide range of relationships that the code of conduct covered in this way.
South African Institute of Forestry. (n.d.). Code of Ethics. Retrieved March 11, 2015, from http://www.saif.org.za/index.php?page=code-of-ethics