The Close Brothers Business Barometer today revealed that just under half (46%) of small and medium sized companies in the transport sector say they do not have an ethics policy because it’s something they feel they don’t need.
Also known as a code of ethics, 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
“Business owners and managers will also recognise the importance of trust and ethics when they are on the receiving end of ‘unethical business practice’. Even though many smaller organisations have an informal understanding about how business is done, there are clear advantages to having a formal code in place – not least because they will inform business practice and greatly enhance the organisation’s reputation.”
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All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from a GMI survey conducted in October 2015. The survey canvassed the opinion of over 500 SME owners across the UK and across several industries on a range of issues affecting their businesses. This survey was conducted online.
* 148, 414 businesses figure – calculated using Federation of Small Business statistics that say the UK has 274, 840 SMEs in the transport sector (2015 figures). Close Brothers Asset Finance research showed that 54% of SMEs in the transport sector do not have a formal ethics policy in place in their organisations. 54% of 274, 840 = 148, 414
About Close Brothers Asset Finance
Close Brothers Asset Finance offers a range of flexible of funding options including hire purchase, leasing and refinancing.
Close Brothers Asset Finance is a member of the Close Brothers Group.
Close Brothers is a leading UK merchant banking group providing lending, deposit taking, wealth management services, and securities trading. We employ 2, 900 people, principally in the UK. Close Brothers Group plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a member of the FTSE 250.