Code of Ethics

1. PREFACE

1.1 Purpose.

The Code of Ethics provides standards to guide the actions and decisions of participants in Breastfeeding USA including, but not limited to, volunteers, voting members, Breastfeeding Counselors, Professional Advisers, committee members, and members of the Board of Directors.

1.2 Primacy of the Mission.

The mission of Breastfeeding USA is to provide evidence-based breastfeeding information and support, and promote breastfeeding as the biological and cultural norm. When representing Breastfeeding USA, individuals will act in a manner that supports the mission of Breastfeeding USA. Cooperative arrangements with other organizations committed to breastfeeding education, support, and advocacy can facilitate the goals of Breastfeeding USA. Individuals shall not promote other causes when representing Breastfeeding USA or use Breastfeeding USA materials, resources, programs, and activities to promote other causes.

1.3 World Health Organization International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes.

Breastfeeding USA supports the World Health Organization International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes as a minimum standard to "ensure that mothers and caregivers are able to make fully-informed choices of how best to feed their infants, free of commercial interest" WHO The International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes, Frequently Asked Questions, 2008, p.4

1.4 Communication.

Participants in Breastfeeding USA will communicate in a manner that demonstrates honesty, fairness, responsibility, personal integrity, and respect for self and others. Respectful and ethical communication is fundamental for decision making, for developing relationships, and for enhancing human worth and dignity.

1.5 Copyright.

Representatives of Breastfeeding USA shall properly acknowledge intellectual property rights, including but not limited to copyrights (which apply to written material, photographs, slides, illustrations, etc.), trademarks, service marks, and patents.

1.6 Nondiscrimination.

Breastfeeding USA welcomes diversity and aims to provide a volunteer and work environment free from discrimination. Discrimination, in any form, by individuals representing Breastfeeding USA, on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, age, sex, religion, familial status, sexual orientation, or gender identity is prohibited. Additionally, the volunteers and staff of Breastfeeding USA will conduct their actions with a standard of nondiscrimination for politics, education levels, income levels, and parenting practices.

1.7 Consequences.

Violations of the Code of Ethics may lead to a review process, disciplinary actions, and removal from a volunteer or paid position, as detailed in the Bylaws and Policies.

2. ETHICAL STANDARDS FOR ORGANIZATIONAL MANAGEMENT

2.1 Management.

In addition to the Standards listed in the Preface, representatives responsible for the governance and financial management of the resources of Breastfeeding USA shall uphold these standards for organizational management. These representatives include, but are not limited to, individuals serving on the Board of Directors, the Operational Committees, employees, and other designated volunteers responsible for organizational management.

2.2 Evaluation.

Members of the Board shall periodically evaluate Board performance, communication between the Board and other individuals in Breastfeeding USA, and the efficiency and impact of programs and services relative to the mission of Breastfeeding USA.

2.3 Effective Governance.

The members of the Board of Directors are guardians of the mission of Breastfeeding USA and aim to build an effective and sustainable organization. They are responsible for establishing policies and practices that enhance the impact of Breastfeeding USA and strengthen the public’s confidence in the management of the organization.
a. The members of the Board of Directors shall:

  1. Select or elect Board members with diverse skills, expertise, backgrounds, and perspectives.
  2. Demonstrate a duty of care through their participation in board activities and meetings.
  3. Demonstrate a duty of loyalty by acting in the best interest of Breastfeeding USA and by not using organization information or resources for personal gain.
  4. Provide supportive orientation for new Board members to ensure that they are aware of their legal and ethical responsibilities, are knowledgeable about the programs and activities of Breastfeeding USA, and can carry out their oversight functions effectively.
  5. Have the opportunity to participate in governance best-practices education opportunities.
  6. Communicate regularly, consistently, and openly with the members of the Board of Directors and other representatives in order to promote effective governance throughout Breastfeeding USA.

b. All representatives of Breastfeeding USA aim to implement effective governance policies and practices.

2.4 Legal Compliance.

The members of the Board of Directors share a commitment to being informed of and compliant with applicable laws for 501(c)(3) charitable organizations, including but not limited to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2004.

  1. The Board shall review accurate, periodic statutory financial reports that certify the financial status of Breastfeeding USA.
  2. The Board shall provide standards for documentation practices, document retention, and destruction after a specified time period.
  3. All members of Breastfeeding USA shall aim to implement financial management procedures that comply with applicable laws.
  4. In order to promote compliant financial management throughout Breastfeeding USA, members of the Board of Directors and other representatives shall communicate regularly, consistently, and openly.

2.5 Conflict of Interest.

Representatives of Breastfeeding USA acknowledge that a conflict of interest, or an appearance of a conflict, can arise whenever a transaction, or an action, conflicts with the personal interests, financial or otherwise, of a representative of Breastfeeding USA, an immediate family member of the representative, or that representative’s employer. Conflicts of interest are disclosed, evaluated, and minimized or eliminated for the overall protection of Breastfeeding USA.

2.6 Whistleblower.

Breastfeeding USA provides policies and procedures that enable individuals to come forward with information on illegal practices or violations of organizational policies. The organization will not retaliate against, and will protect the confidentiality of, individuals who make good-faith reports.

2.7 Public Disclosure.

Stakeholders and interested members of the public shall have access to appropriate and accurate information regarding finances, operations, and program results.

2.8 Responsible Fundraising.

Breastfeeding USA shall demonstrate respect for the privacy of potential donors and safeguard the confidentiality of their information.

2.9 Volunteers.

Volunteers are essential to the mission of Breastfeeding USA. Individuals in Breastfeeding USA shall honor commitments to each other and shall maintain communication to ensure the smooth functioning of procedures and services.

2.10 Feedback and Grievances.

Breastfeeding USA shall provide resources to deliver feedback and facilitate filing and resolving grievances.

3. ETHICAL STANDARDS FOR DELIVERY OF SERVICES

3.1 Standards of Practice for Breastfeeding Counselors.

In addition to the Standards listed above, the accredited Breastfeeding USA Counselor shall act in a manner that safeguards the interests of each mother, justifies public trust in her competence, and enhances the reputation of the Breastfeeding USA Counselor program. When representing Breastfeeding USA, each Counselor shall:

  • Provide information about breastfeeding and related topics with objectivity, and with respect for the unique needs and values of individuals. Provide sufficient information to enable mothers to make informed decisions. Facilitate respectful and non-judgmental communication in one-on-one and group interactions.
  • Recognize and exercise informed judgment within the limits of her qualifications. Breastfeeding USA Counselors are accredited to offer information and support regarding breastfeeding and related topics. The Breastfeeding USA Counselor accreditation is not a professional certification to practice medicine, provide health care, provide legal advice, or engage in any other professional activity.
  • Honor her commitment to helping mothers and enhancing the reputation of the Breastfeeding USA Counselor program.
  • Maintain confidentiality of mothers' information.
  • Take responsibility and accept accountability for personal competence.
  • Disclose any financial or other conflicts of interest in relevant organizations providing goods or services. Ensure that judgment is not influenced by any commercial considerations.
  • Withdraw voluntarily if she has engaged in any substance abuse that could affect her activities with Breastfeeding USA or has a physical, emotional or mental disability that affects her activities in a manner that could harm mothers and other individuals in Breastfeeding USA.
  • Conduct herself with honesty, integrity, and fairness.

3.2 Feedback.

Breastfeeding USA values feedback from recipients of our services and shall provide a structure to provide such feedback confidentially.

December 2010