Owning Our Culture of Ethics

Posted on Sep 28, 2017 12:36:34 PM, by Mollie Williams

Ethics and integrity are in our DNA – more than 150 years underscore our legacy of upholding preeminent ethical, sustainable, and environmental values.

Debra Clements, Milliken Chief Administrative Officer, Senior General Counsel, and Corporate Secretary, is uniquely positioned to lead our work in fostering engaged corporate citizenship. She works tirelessly on behalf of Milliken associates, and coordinates among senior leadership to continue the legacy formed so many years ago.

In Debra’s perspective, there are three key principles in building and owning a culture of ethics within any organization. Her insights into Milliken’s efforts showcase how we enable our ethical legacy to flourish globally for the benefit of our colleagues, customers, and communities.


Actions speak louder than words:

The adage couldn’t be more applicable to ethical culture. In building and owning a culture of ethics, words can only see you so far. Milliken’s ethical legacy is so forceful because our actions are in line with our assertions. We practice what we preach.

It is important that your ethical mindset permeates every aspect of your business. At Milliken, ethics underpins nearly everything – from the products we choose to produce, to the way we develop and bring those products to market, to the relationships we build along the way. We emphasize associate safety in order to create an atmosphere of trust at the core of our business. In practice, our commitment to ethics is proven through how we do business rather than how we say we do business.


Create buy-in:

When looking to grow ownership of your ethical culture, the buy-in of your organization is essential. At Milliken, ownership is shared throughout the company. Each associate feels responsible for upholding our standards. They commit to the clearly communicated vision, and work to contribute to that vision through daily actions.

Senior leadership should champion an initiative as large as ethical vision. They are passionate about the practice and implementation, and can lead by example, ensuring it remains top of mind for all associates. Yet, through the individual buy-in, associates multiple the vision across divisions and across the global to strengthen our legacy of ethics. This ownership is a powerful tool to promote and advance your ethical culture.


Innovate to improve:

A third – arguably most important – tool in advancing a culture of ethics is fostering a desire to improve. We are constantly moving our culture of ethics forward, looking to reject complacency in order to creating meaningful change.

In looking to build upon success, we find we can grow in ways never before considered. For example, our emphasis on associate safety and manufacturing excellence has not only resulted in operational benefits for our team, but also allowed us to create a whole new consulting arm to help others achieve the same success we have. With Performance Solutions by Milliken, we help other manufacturing organizations of all sizes improve their operational efficiencies and workplace safety. We believe that safety, sustainability, and social responsibility are strongly interlinked, and we are passionate about helping others make the same connection when fostering a culture of ethics.


Building a culture of ethics is never finished – there is always a new horizon to explore and a new challenge to undertake. By committing to constant improvement, empowering associates to take pride in that culture, and ultimately acting out our values, we look to carry our culture of ethics forward into the next 150 years.

Topics: Making Connections

Mollie Williams

Written by Mollie Williams

Monthly Blog Updates

Recent Posts