IBE: Businesses need to restore trust with the British public
There has been a substantial decline in those that believe British businesses behave ethically, according to a new survey from the Institute of Business Ethics.
The annual report from the IBE found that more people think that executive pay needs to be addressed in corporate behaviour than any other issue, with a third selecting it among their top three priority issues.
Astonishingly, only 48 per cent of British adults believe that British business is behaving ethically - down 10 per cent from last year. This year's result is similar to the all-time low of 47 per cent in 2003, the year the survey was first conducted.
The survey also examined attitudes towards ethics in business over time. There remain mixed views on how ethically business behaves compared with 10 years ago.
A quarter (25 per cent) say business behaves the same as it did ten years ago (a decline of five percentage points from the 2011 figure of 30 per cent). Just more than a quarter (28 per cent) of the public think British business behaves more ethically now than 10 years ago (the same proportion as in 2011). The same proportion (28 per cent) in 2012 think business behaves less ethically now than 10 years ago.
As in 2011, women (18 per cent) were significantly more likely than men (11 per cent) to say harassment and bullying in the workplace is an issue that needs addressing.
Philippa Foster Back, director of the IBE, said: "This year' s results should act as another wake-up call to business that action needs to be taken in order to restore trust with the British public.
"Executive pay continues to trouble the British public - while the country tightens its belt, extravagant bonuses and rewards for failure tarnish business's reputation.
"Scandals such as LIBOR have meant that the ethics of business has yet again become an issue of direct concern to the general public."