Four out of every five (81%) manufacturing firm owners would class their business as ethical, according to the Close Brothers Business Barometer, a quarterly survey of UK SME owners and senior management across a range of sectors and regions.
When asked how important it is to be seen as an 'ethical' business, 85% of respondents to the survey felt it was either ‘very’ or ‘kind’ of important. The remaining 15% felt it was not important at all.
“Over the past number of years there has been a move towards a more ethical way of doing business,” said Steve Gee, Managing Director of the Industrial Equipment Division at Close Brothers Asset Finance. “This ranges from being more environmentally aware to implementing policies that positively benefit employees.
“What is particularly encouraging is that the majority of companies aren’t using an ethical approach to business for commercial gain, with only 45% of company owners answering ‘yes’ to the question ‘do you think that in your industry being seen as 'ethical' would lead to more business opportunities?”.
When asked to define what makes a business ethical, the option most selected was ‘a business that behaves with integrity’. The full ranking order:
- A business that behaves with integrity
- A business that puts the customers above all else
- A business that demonstrates concern for others
- A business that focuses not only on results
- A business that has a values programme in place
- A business that doesn't do business with certain industries
- A business that has a CSR programme in place
“Everyone understands ethics differently, but the consensus view from those surveyed was that integrity was a good yardstick of a business’s ethics, along with how they treated their customers,” said Steve.