A handshake counts
The “Honourable Businessman” describes the historically grown image in Europe of a responsible participant in economic life.
He stands for a profound sense of responsibility towards his own company, society and the environment he operates in.
An Honourable Businessman bases his actions on virtues that aim at long-term economic success which do not conflict wth the interests of the society.
The principle “One man, one word” is one of his recognised ideals and the handshake between the contracting parties is the symbol of this.
Digitalization and its transformation pose a challenge not only to companies, but also have an impact on our entire society. We can positively shape the digital transformation so that our companies, employees and our society can successfully follow this path.
In our view, respectability and openness to the world are the basis of economic prosperity in Switzerland and its regions.
The ideals of the “Honourable Businessman Switzerland” were summarised in the mission statement of the association and form the foundation for the commercial behaviour of its members. The name of the association is purely historically conditioned. It goes without saying that female entrepreneurs, board members and managers today belong to the association “Ehrbarer Kaufmann Schweiz” just as much as male ones.
…stands by his word, the handshake counts.
…is cosmopolitan and liberal-oriented.
…demands tolerance and respects human diversity.
…treats his customers, employees and business partners fairly.
… adheres to the principle of good faith.
…is oriented towards long-term and sustainable entrepreneurial action.
…assumes responsibility in business, the environment and society and is thus a role model in its sustainable actions.
…is committed to Switzerland as a business location.
…is committed to its values in international business.
Mission Statement of the “Honorable Merchant Switzerland” (EKS)
The traditional Honourable Businessman is an entrepreneur who is responsible towards business partners, customers and employees, friendly, modest, liberal-minded and cosmopolitan. He stands by his word, the handshake is valid. Even more: he is a role model in entrepreneurial action, thinks long-term and acts sustainably. Respectability and cosmopolitanism are the basis of economic prosperity in Switzerland.
The mission statement gives concrete form to the historically developed principles of Honourable Businessmen for Switzerland and is set out in 9 guiding principles The mission statement is a commitment and measure of the entrepreneurial self-image of our members and is binding for them.
The focus is on the self-reliant person, because in our understanding, first people are respectable and then our companies.
1st guiding principle
He keeps his word and the handshake is on.
He promises only what he can deliver. He respects the laws and keeps contracts as well as agreements and obligations.
2nd guiding principle
He is open-minded and freedom-oriented.
He is committed to the principle of performance. It uses our freedom to shape its business while respecting the interests of other players in the market and society. At the same time, he stands up for freedom, social security and respect for human dignity.
3rd guiding principle
It calls for tolerance and respects the diversity of human beings.
He is open to all people and cultures. Any form of discrimination contradicts not only ethical principles but also the principles of the social market economy.
4th guiding principle
He behaves fairly towards his customers, employees and business partners.
He is interested in the long-term maintenance of respectful relationships with customers, employees and suppliers. He is obliged to consider the legitimate interests of others. Not everything that is legally permissible is also respectable!
5th guiding principle
The honourable merchant adheres to the principle of good faith.
He acts in good faith and commits himself to honest and loyal conduct in business transactions.
6th guiding principle
It has a long-term and sustainable entrepreneurial focus.
It rejects the short-term pursuit of profit as its primary business policy and reflects its actions for its company and environment.
7th guiding principle
It assumes responsibility in the economy, environment and society and is thus a role model in its sustainable actions
He sets a good example even in difficult times, lives and breathes responsible management and action, and demands the same from our employees. At the same time, he can design and align organizational forms for this.
8th guiding principle
He is committed to Switzerland as a business location.
It maintains and improves the social and economic structures of Switzerland, especially for future generations.
9th guiding principle
He also stands up for his values in international business.
With respect and competence, he builds trust in international business and conveys the rules of the social market economy through his actions. He tries to exert a positive influence on deviating practices.
The principle “One man, one word” is one of the universally accepted ideals of commercial business. The handshake between the contracting parties is a symbol of this. Even if there is no direct personal contact on the telephone, in correspondence or on the Internet, the message associated with this symbol is clear and comprehensible.
Success is not an indicator of respectability, neither in a positive nor negative sense. For the Honourable Businessman, however, the two terms “Honourable” and “Businessman” are inseparably linked. The commercial sense of reality and the orientation towards ethical values must interact.
Being a role model in a company does not mean being instructive or moralizing. Rather, it is about personal authenticity, which comes from an inner and consistently lived conviction. Society does not accept inconsiderate behaviour by entrepreneurs or managers. Entrepreneurship only receives lasting recognition if the individual profit is in harmony with the performance for the company and society.
Not every detail of economic life can and should be regulated by law. The observance of unwritten rules of decency within the legal framework is therefore not only ethical but also economically correct.
In international business, there are no easy recipes for ethical dilemmas. For example, the understanding of environmental standards or humane working conditions can vary widely. Only with respect and intercultural competence can trust be built up, which enables influence to be exerted through conviction. A particular aim of the Honourable Businessman is to counter corruption. However, the fight against criminal structures is above all a task for states and communities of states.
Status: September 2019
Honorable Merchant Switzerland (EKS)
The association “Honourable Swiss Merchant” (EKS) is committed to free trade and commercial self-administration. A cosmopolitan attitude, which proves its importance especially in the age of globalisation and international trade, has shaped the ideals of the honourable merchant for centuries. These were summarized in the EKS mission statement and form the basis for the commercial behaviour of its members.
The name of the association is historically determined. Today, of course, women entrepreneurs and managers belong to the “Honourable Businessman Switzerland” Association just as much as entrepreneurs and managers do.
“Honourable Businessman” is the term used to describe the mission statement for responsible participants in business life that has developed historically in Europe. It stands for a pronounced sense of responsibility for one’s own company, for society and for the environment. An Honourable Businessman bases his behaviour on virtues that aim at long-term economic success without being contrary to the interests of society. He operates sustainably.”
You can find our complete statutes under the PDF link.
Status: September 2019
We consider value systems that are organizationally anchored in companies, such as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) (often also referred to as corporate social responsibility), Compliance (a term used to describe the compliance of companies with rules and regulations), Corporate Governance, legal and factual regulatory frameworks for the management and supervision of companies, to be very good accompanying measures.
The focus of the “Honourable Businessman Switzerland” is on the responsible person. According to our understanding, a company will only develop sustainably and respectably through the personal example and specific actions of individuals (entrepreneurs, board members and managing directors).
Despite the different approaches, we see ourselves as bridge builders of the different systems ad approaches for the common good of Switzerland.
We are always open for discussion with people who favour different views or value systems.