The only way is ethics, but 46% of UK SMEs don’t agree

Just under half of UK small and medium sized (SME) companies in the transport sector said that they do not have an ethics policy.
The Close Brothers Business Barometer said that that 46% of those polled for a survey did not have an code of ethics “because it’s something they feel they don’t need”.
An ethics policy defines the essentials of how people within an organisation will interact with one another, as well as how they will communicate with any customers or clients they serve and any vendors or suppliers that they come into contact with.
Moreover, the quarterly survey of UK SME owners and senior management from a range of sectors also implied that size does really matter when it comes to ethical policies, with over a third (34%) of these businesses believing they are too small to worry about these guidelines and a fifth (17%) believing only large companies need to have them.
John Fawcett, managing director of the transport division at Close Brothers Asset Finance said: “With business growth high on the agenda for many SME owners in 2016, the importance of good ethical behaviour will play an increasing role in how their businesses are perceived, both internally and externally.”
Despite a significant number of UK SMEs in the transport sector feeling they don’t need an ethics policy, over half (58%) stated that they have been on the receiving end of unethical business practices, with one in ten (9%) businesses saying it happens ‘a lot’ and a quarter (25%) stating it happens ‘on occasions’. 
Just under two thirds (62%) of UK SMEs in the transport sector get questioned about ethics in their supply chain, with this happening all the time or on an increasing regular basis for over one in ten (15%) SMEs.
Mr Fawcett added: “Over two thirds of firms we talked to said that success is dependent on high standards of business ethics. With this in mind, it is clear that good trusting relationships with clients, employees, suppliers and the community are vital in business.”

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