Ethics rises up the agenda of UK businesses

There has been a major increase in the number of British companies training staff in business ethics, research has found.

A study by the Institute of Business Ethics of the top 350 listed companies found that 71% now provide training on codes, compared to 47% in 2004, the last time the survey was conducted.

Philippa Foster Back, director of the Institute of Business Ethics, said: “This is a major step forward for the effectiveness of business ethics in UK businesses.

“We have always said that there is no point having a code of ethics unless someone does something to ensure the staff not only know about the code, but are supported in understanding what the ethical values mean for their organisation.”

The report also shows the growing concern about environmental issues and climate change among British businesses.

Environmental impacts of business operations are now considered by 81% of business to be as significant an issue as safety and security: an 18% increase on 2004 figures.

The report also found that:

  • more boards of directors are taking a direct interest in functioning of codes of business ethics
  • more companies monitor their ethics policies and refer to external standards, compared with the numbers in the 2004 survey
  • 95% of companies provide a way for employees to raise ethical issues in confidence.

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