The study of ethics, also known as moral philosophy, is the study of what is right, what is wrong, and why that should be so. An ethical agreement is a practical application of ethics, called normative ethics, whereby two or more parties agree to work within and avoid breaching a set ethical standard.
An ethical agreement is usually set to moral guidelines for conduct within an organization, at an event, or during a transaction. A person is usually presented with the agreement before they are allowed to join or continue with the transaction. Organizations often publish their ethical agreements and standards as means of promoting trust and a declaration of intent.
Ethical agreements are not usually legally binding and are often more a matter of honor. However, most legally binding contracts do have ethical dimensions written within them.
Although breach of ethical agreements is not usually punishable by law, those who are generally held by society to a higher ethical standard, such as politicians or doctors, can be held to account for breach of an ethical agreement by an ethics committee. These committees are often formed by peers – members of the same organization that wrote the ethical agreement.