Fewer people believe “business behaves ethically” IBE Business Ethics Survey finds

A report by the Institute of Business Ethics – ‘Attitudes of the British Public to Business Ethics 2019‘ – highlights a fall in those who regard business as behaving ethically. While the majority of those asked believe business does behave very or fairly ethically, this has fallen from 62% to 57% in the last 12 months. 

The same top three issues raised as concerns by the public in 2018 remain the same in 2019; tax avoidance (33%), executive pay (29%) and environmental responsibility (28%) – the latter identified as a top three concern for the second year in a row.

Almost one in five (18%) members of public believe businesses need to address their work-home balance practices with experts maintaining a healthy balance is vital to protect employee wellbeing.

The long-term trends in this report show businesses are actively addressing public concerns and acknowledging their responsibilities to act ethically; since 2003 there has been a 10% increase in those who believe businesses behave ethically and a 7% drop in those who believe they act unethically. This year’s data, highlighting a 5% drop, shows that work never ends, especially with a continued focus on issues such as those concerning the environment, mental health and the use of data.

Public relations is a business critical function that should be at the front and centre of delivering this work by communicating change, building trust and improving public perception through an organisations social purpose and a focus on relationships.
CIPR President, Emma Leech Found.Chart.PR FCIPR

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