Berkshire Hathaway Code of Ethics

Berkshire Hathaway is a holding company based in Omaha, Nebraska that oversees and manages a number of subsidiary companies. Warren Buffett is the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway and one of the wealthiest men in the world. He is known as the “Sage of Omaha” for his remarkable savvy in the stock market. What does the company’s code of ethics say about the rights of its workers, shareholders, consumers, and suppliers? Berkshire Hathaway’s Code of Ethics covers directors, officers and employees.

All should act in good faith with integrity and with due care, treating competitors, suppliers, customers and colleagues ethically. The Code of Business Conduct and Ethics is laid out in a straightforward format and even the compliance procedures show that the company cares about its workers and their abilities to make ethical business decisions. How does the code reflect the company’s attitude toward competitors? In regards to competitors, employees must engage only in fair and open competition.

No employee shall engage in collusion, collaborations, unfair practices or stealing of proprietary and trade secret information of competitors. It is almost always a conflict of interest to work simultaneously for a competitor, customer or supplier. How does this code of ethics resemble the information discussed in this chapter? How does it differ? Berkshire Hathaway’s Code of Ethics follows the same general guidelines as discussed in this chapter. It differs somewhat in that it states the actions that will be taken if found in violation.

The compliance procedures are very specific and easily understood. Warren Buffet quotes in the code of ethics- if ever in doubt his rule of thumb is “…I want employees to ask themselves whether they are willing to have any contemplated act appear the next day on the front page of their local paper- to be read by their spouses, children and friends- with the reporting done by an informed and critical reporter. ” As an employee of this company, how would you personally interpret the code of ethics?

How might the code influence your behavior within the workplace? Give several examples. As an employee I see this code of ethics as welcome guidelines on personal conduct for both the internal and external affairs of the company. There is a level of conduct expected not just from myself, but from my coworkers as well. Honesty and integrity are expected when dealing with coworkers, customers, suppliers and even competitors. All confidential information is to be kept in confidence and not to be disclosed or abused improperly.

Proper compliance to laws and regulation are expected in whatever jurisdiction the company does business. There are numerous other examples covered in the code and having this knowledge would clearly influence decisions and dealings in our working environment. Conclusion; Berkshire Hathaway has a long standing and respected reputation and therefore it is no surprise they have a code of ethics that is easily interpreted and understood for all of those employed by his company.