News: Less than half of UK’s FTSE 100 companies have codes of ethics up to standard

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MOST FTSE 100 companies in the UK have a publicly available code of ethics, but barely half of these were rated adequate when assessed by the Institute of Business Ethics (IBE) recently.

In spite of codes being a well-established means for companies to facilitate values-based decision-making and to communicate cultural expectations, almost one in five FTSE 100 companies in the UK still do not have a publicly available code.

IBE director Dr Ian Peters said, “A good code of ethics does not guarantee good corporate behavior but a poor one or, worse still, no code at all, is a strong indicator of a weak ethical culture.”

Key findings of the research show that only 46 codes were rated as ‘good’ by the IBE;
19 FTSE 100 companies have no publicly available code; and less than half (48) companies had up-to-date codes reviewed in the last three years as per IBE recommended best practice.

The IBE recommends that companies add a clear endorsement of the code by senior leadership; explain clearly how people can speak up if they have any ethical concerns; set out what people can expect from the speak up process and include a clear commitment to zero tolerance of retaliation; and include effective guidance for employees, such as a decision-making framework, FAQs, and real examples of ethical dilemmas.