the ethical move

Code of Conduct.


We exist to start and expand the conversation around ethical marketing, and we know that conversations on the internet can bring up sensitive subject matters. To safeguard a harassment-free experience for everyone, here is our code of conduct for conversations taking place across the ethical move platforms.

The Ethical Move is aware of the political nature of marketing and sales – and the responsibility for society, the environment and diverse global cultures that ensues.

1. Posture

We assume that every member of The Ethical Move (TEM) will do their best – within the framework of their own knowledge, experience and skills – to promote

  1. transparency,
  2. equity,
  3. inclusion,
  4. non-violence,
  5. anti-racism,
  6. gender equality,
  7. accessibility,
  8. privacy,
  9. environmental responsibility and
  10. the common good.

Together, we have embarked on a journey to shape a socially and ecologically just future.

For us at The Ethical Move, it’s about justice – both locally and globally – and about ethical behaviour in the marketplace that addresses the root causes of consumerism.

We are committed to a social and ethical transformation that enables a good life for everyone.

We recognize our own entanglements in existing social power structures.

We want to actively develop solidary practices by reflecting and learning together and build structures that are sensitive to diversity and inclusion. We also see animals as sentient individuals who suffer under current conditions, and whose needs we are committed to. In the society we strive for, they will not be treated like goods, products, pests or entertainment objects.

We will not tolerate

  • greenwashing,
  • racism,
  • ableism,
  • ageism,
  • sexism,
  • classism,
  • sizeism,
  • anti-semitism,
  • homophobia and
  • other ideologies and mechanisms of oppression that stand in the way of a just society.

We all stand to gain when…

  • You contribute boldly and generously to the conversation. Go ahead and ask questions, challenge assumptions, tell us your point of view (we’d love to hear it, even when it differs from our own).
    • If you disagree with something, be critical of the idea, not of the person giving it. Personal attacks are never okay.
  • You share your experiences — we welcome people from different communities, backgrounds, industries and experiences to enrich our shared knowledge.

We reserve the right to remove from any/all of our platforms:

  • Any kind of hate speech, violence, threats of violence or intolerance across any of our platforms.
  • Any comments we deem offensive, bigoted or antagonistic.

The principles of The Ethical Move

Our cooperation is based on

  • The statutes and association regulations/legal compliance
  • Friendly relationships, trust and respect
  • Complementary talents and skills
  • Respect for diversity of identity
  • The desire to create, and to build our own foundation for joint action.

Our behaviour is based on

  • Friendship as a goal and not as a means to an end
  • Constructive criticism in an appropriate tone
  • Reflecting on one’s own point of view.

Our work is based on

  • Active voluntary participation
  • Commitment and responsibility for our tasks, punctuality and sticking to due dates
  • Commitment to sharing information, knowledge and experience with partners comprehensively and in a timely manner, without striving for personal benefits
  • Positivity and open-mindedness, with the aim of using the status quo only as a reference point for future developments and avoiding path dependency
  • Motivation to share our knowledge and broadening our personal knowledge horizons by listening to others
  • Sustainability in the use of resources of all kinds.

2. Structures

The Ethical Move organises autonomously and in a decentralised way, in the spirit of a grassroots movement. The organisational form is self-organisation (or SOS, which stands for self-organising system).

The Ethical Move is a self-organised group. We design our path to achieving our goals together and with autonomy. We work and act in an emancipatory way (growing beyond the constraints that surround us) and critically of hierarchy (questioning our own and social hierarchical structures).

Group decisions at The Ethical Move are made based on the principle of consent. (see also group decisions: consent principle).

The Ethical Move is organised in various working groups (WG) and project groups (PG).

Individual members of The Ethical Move shall take on roles that are tied to specific activities and mandates.

Working groups (WGs)

Working groups are entrusted with topic-specific tasks. WGs are autonomous and self-organised.

This means that each WG has the freedom and responsibility to decide how and in what division of labour it would like to work.

Every WG has its own self-image. This WG self-image contains:

  • Name of the working group
  • Purpose of the working group
  • List of activities & mandates (mandates = unambiguous competencies that do not exist in any other WG)
  • Possible contact points with other working groups
  • Delegates / contact persons (1-2 people who represent the working group externally)
  • Examples of working groups:
    • Board and Strategy
    • Fundraising and Finance Member Support and Onboarding
    • Communication and Press
    • Engine Room (Software administration: website, social media, association software …)
    • Partnerships and Support Requests

Project Groups PGs

PGs are temporary working groups. They have a project goal and exist only for the duration of the project.

They can be part of a working group or operate completely independently of other working groups.

Establishing a PG is worthwhile, for example, when

  • planning an event
  • working on important but controversial issues that need to be resolved together
  • working on collaborative and funded projects (see Projects: Funding and Compensation).
  • Example: Project group without WG assignment Daniel wants to hold a poster competition with exhibitions. There is no suitable working group in which Daniel feels he belongs. Daniel has no function/mandate, such as membership in a WG/on the board of directors. He and his team organise themselves and start a project group (PG) “Poster Competition”. A self-image must be formulated for the PG “Poster Competition” and published in the network. In addition to the self-image, it would be great to have some project documentation after the project has been completed. That’s because TEM can then publicise and document the work on social media, in presentations and on the website. Since TEM is designed as a self-organised network, Daniel informs the network via the WG “Project and Project group coordination”. It’s Daniel who takes responsibility for sharing the information because he is the person responsible for the PG “Poster Competition”. Daniel and his team are free to decide how they want to keep other TEM members in the loop about their PG. A simple way would be to create an open Discord channel and announce the dates of the meetings there. Communication of the project via the TEM channels is possible via the relevant WG (Communication & PR). After the end of the project, the PG dissolves.

Anchor Circle

The Anchor Circle is a meeting of WG delegates that coordinates all working groups. Each working group sends 1-2 delegates to the anchor circle. The purpose of the anchor circle is to ensure the exchange of information between the working groups and to coordinate their work.

The working groups represented there discuss and adjust their self-image.

In online meetings, delegates update each other about the developments of their WGs and make these publicly available to everyone via meeting minutes.


The activities of a working group are defined in the working group’s self-image. They can be divided into roles that can then be filled by different people. For each role, it is clearly stated which specific activities that person shall perform (for which activities they have a mandate) and which additional mandates (decision powers) they hold.

When taking on a role, it is assumed that the person in question will carry out the activities mentioned and use their mandates. By organising in different roles, we can clearly distinguish our areas of activity and mandates and know who is responsible for certain tasks.

One person can also hold multiple roles. The activities and mandates are decided by each WG using the consent method (see Decision Making).

The mandates ensure that responsibility (decision-making powers) are distributed in a visibly decentralised way. In this way, we empower all members to decide autonomously in the areas they work on. Information on all the different roles and mandates are collected in a document that is accessible to everyone to ensure transparency (see Transparency).

Role description

Just like the WG description, each role has a role description:

  • Name and purpose of the role: briefly describes why the role exists. What is its raison d’être? What does it exist to ensure?
  • List of activities & mandates: Which concrete actions does this person perform? What other exclusive mandates or decision-making powers do they hold?


Roles can also be expanded into so-called “pools”. In this way, several designers, photographers, community hosts … can align themselves with an appropriate role description.

  • From 0 to 100 – Establishing roles and mandates in 10 steps
    1. Discuss and agree on your WG self-image: What is the purpose of your WG? What are your tasks, activities and mandates?
    2. Establish priorities for your activities & mandates, so you know which ones need taking care of any case.
    3. Determine the required roles for your WG based on your list of tasks.
    4. Create role descriptions to define each role and their contact points with other roles in more detail.
    5. Define and discuss the mandate of each role: What may this person decide independently? Which decisions should be brought back to the larger group?
    6. Now you can assign these roles to each other. Also clarify how much capacity you have for your roles every week.
    7. Discuss which roles are not yet filled and who would like support.
    8. Write everything down in a list and make it accessible to all other members.
    9. It is very important that you decide how you want to keep the list up-to-date (for example, by assigning the role of WG coordinator).
    10. You can now actively advertise the vacant roles to find new people, for example on Discord or even via TEM’s public channels.

3. Decision making

We need clarity on how decisions are made at TEM. When can I decide independently, when does the group decide? It is always up to each and every one of us to assess the consequences of a decision and how it should be made – if necessary, with the help of others.

Individual decisions

Anyone who has taken on a mandate directly (individual mandate) can make decisions independently, but other people should be consulted before the decision to ensure that their decisions are covered by the mandate.

Group decisions: consent principle

The Consent Principle is based on the democratic organisational model of Sociocracy.

In Sociocracy, employee groups decide on various topics. They make “small-d decisions”: It’s all about making a preliminary decision that everyone can accept. If the decision does not prove successful in practice, anyone can raise a serious objection and thus withdraw their consent (their agreement). Then the topic is brought up again in the group and decided anew. The objection of a simple employee counts just as much as that of the manager.

Consent means that no one has a serious objection to a proposal. The proposal is therefore worth trying out.

As a problem-solving method (if no consent is reached), the Systemic Consensing (SC) method is recommended for difficult group decisions.

Systemic Consensing (SC) Systemic Consensing is a problem-solving technique: if it is not possible to reach a decision by consent, SC is a way to solve the problem. Before SC can be used, we need to expand the decision-making space by developing as many proposals as possible that will help to solve the question/task/problem. We will discuss the questions that need to be decided in several rounds and modify them with new ideas to create open questions that can we can respond to in multiple ways.

Process steps in Systemic Consensing

  1. Preparing the decision
  2. Expression (ideally let everyone have their say)
  3. Finding solutions
  4. Decision (poll each solution variant, document sum of all resistances)

The different types of resistance

  • 0–3 No real resistance. Useful to sort solution variants by personal preference.
  • 4–6 Factually justified resistance. A decision for such a proposal would be manageable.
  • 7–10 Severe resistance. It is assumed that this decision will harm the group.

4. Strategic orientation through a Consensus Strategy

In this type of strategy, the activities of many different actors converge into a topic or pattern that permeates the entire organisation, making central direction or control unnecessary.

In contrast to ideological strategies, in which the consensus is based on shared, widespread beliefs, the Consensus Strategy grows through mutual adaptation of actors to each other. This is how a common, probably unpredictable pattern forms.

In other words, convergence is not determined by the will of a central administration or the common will of the actors, but they randomly arise from the activities themselves.

Individual actors will foster and promote consensus or even negotiate towards it. The key point is that the strategy arises from activities and not from intentions.

The common theme or pattern of TEM arises from the association’s purpose according to § 2 of the association’s statutes.

5. Conflict resolution and mediation

In case of serious disagreements or violations of our Code of Conduct that can no longer be constructively solved among those affected or involved, we will seek mediation.

Externally moderated conflict resolution requires an appropriate willingness to solve the conflict. According to the principle “Disruptions are not a distraction, they’re part of the process”, we see tension and disagreements as opportunities to expand our common understanding.

We agree that in order to be most effective, we rely on our relationships to be as tension-free as possible. So eliminating tensions and accepting the necessary external support are in the interest of all members.

6. Projects: Funding and Payment

Project Groups (PGs) work on projects. PGs are temporary WGs. They have a project goal and then dissolve again. They can be assigned to a working group or operate completely independently of other WGs. Establishing a PG is a prerequisite for each of the following kinds of project funding.

Each project should be adequately described right from the start:

  • Objective
  • Costs
  • Schedule
  • Personnel planning
  • Mandates and mandate holders.


Working in TEM working groups is voluntary and not generally paid.

Project work in project groups (PGs) is an exception; here, we strive for all work to be paid.

Funders or donors

Funding can come from any of the following sources:

  • EU or other supranational entities
  • Countries
  • States and provinces
  • Organisations, associations, trusts
  • Companies
  • Individuals

Sponsors or donors must comply with the TEM Code of Conduct (CoC) and draw a clear line to greenwashing, racism, sexism, classism, anti-Semitism, homophobia and other ideologies and mechanisms of oppression that are opposed to social justice.

Additionally, the following criteria shall be adhered to:

  • Sustainable, resource-saving and fossil-free production and services
  • Donors must not use deceptive design, manipulative tactics or non-inclusive techniques in their current marketing materials
  • Acceptance of donations from non-members above a certain amount (as per the TEM fee schedule) is determined by the Board of Directors and the WG responsible for Finance and Crowdfunding.
  • Anonymous donations by non-members are not permitted.
  • A detailed list of donors and the amounts of their respective donations will be appropriately disclosed.


The Fundraising Working Group supports TEM project work in the search for usable funding sources and in preparing of applications. However, the mandate for the project is exclusively with the project manager.

Projects via external project grants

Here, you apply to a funding body with a project that is tailored to the grant objectives.

There are various project grant models:

  • Funding based on effort (usually with an upper limit) To apply for this type of funding, you must submit a project proposal that includes a cost estimate. In most cases, material and personnel costs must be stated separately. Therefore the funding application includes an hourly cost calculation for personnel. The hourly rate underlying the costs is usually determined from the funding conditions and is based on salary tables. In many cases, the applicant’s own funds are a prerequisite, but can also be provided as work services. In this case, the own contributions reduce the paid-for personnel costs.
  • Funding with a fixed budget With these grants there is a fixed budget for the entire project. It is important to pay attention to how the costs for material and/or personnel costs can be spent. Pure personnel costs leave no room for material costs. Pure material costs (this can also include printing expenses) leave no room for personnel costs. From the outset, the scope of the project must be based on the funding amount. Project-related donations also fall into this category.

Projects of TEM – internal project funding

TEM can decide to use non-project-related donations and members’ donations to support pet projects for which no other funding is available. Those donations can also used to boost projects that are underfinanced. In both cases, a written application including objectives, costs, scheduling and personnel planning must be submitted. The project must be within the scope of TEM’s strategy.

The application will be discussed by the Board of Directors plus two additional persons in accordance with §9 of the statutes. Please note that project participants do not have voting rights.

Free projects mediated by TEM

TEM supports its members in the acquisition of free(lance) projects.

Free projects take place outside the responsibility of TEM.

They arise from a direct contract between the client (no funding body) and the member (contractor), through mediation by TEM. The reason for this is our limited human resources. To support our communication and mediation efforts, TEM suggests a voluntary donation of 7% of the net contract amount.*

  • Example Client A contacts TEM looking for an expert on ethical paid ads for a one-day workshop. TEM passes the enquiry to member X. A direct contract for €3,000 is signed between A and X. After receiving payment for their invoice, X donates €210 to TEM. If this results in follow-up contracts from this client, it is at the discretion of the member to make further donations.


Should a violation of our CoC become known during the course of a funded project, TEM reserves the right to terminate the cooperation while balancing the investments made up to that point on both sides.

Copyright and usage rights

Projects and works created or implemented with the support of TEM are subject to the terms of use published on the TEM website.

Copyrights are not affected by this. They remain with the author.

  • Example CC BY-SA 4.0 {Name} for The Ethical Move

7. Language and naming rules

Our abbreviation is TEM.

We distinguish 2 different forms in language use:

  1. We, The Ethical Move, stand for … (”the”/plural, refers to the members)
  2. The Ethical Move works … (”the”/singular, refers to the association)

8. Sources and further reading

The TEM CoC is based on the CoC of Creatives For Future Deutschland, which in turn is based on the SOS manual of XR.

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