Business Ethics and Social Responsibility ABSTRACT: For some time now there has been a strong need to define ethical conduct in the business world. This necessity is a manifestation of the loss of certainties which has characterized economic and social life in the last 50 years. The need arises for new rules, adapted to the new course of human history in all of its aspects; rules with universal value for a global world. The important thing to understand, however, is that it is not sufficient that these rules be listed in codes and manuals, necessary those these may be. Such ethical rules must be deeply rooted in the human conscience. This is crucial because it is people, with all their complexity and imperfection who determine the course of history and form the society in which they live. Inevitably, therefore, the central role of people is also the fundamental reference point in the conduct of a business, which must be conceived as a community of individuals united in the pursuit of common, shared objectives. The starting point of this essential way of considering a business lies in recognising the value of the people who operate within the business, regardless of the pressures of productivity and market competition. Particular attention should also be paid to the consequences that the production process has on the natural environment. This issue also brings us back to the principle of the central role of people: the environment is our home and its protection is a very real moral obligation.