Some 46 per cent 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.
A code of ethics 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.
But over a third of SMEs believe they are too small to worry about these guidelines and a fifth believe only large companies need to have them.
John Fawcett, managing director of the transport division at Close Brothers Asset Finance which commissioned the study, 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 transport SMEs feeling they don’t need an ethics policy, over half (58 per cent) stated that they have been on the receiving end of unethical business practices, with one in ten (9 per cent) businesses saying it happens ‘a lot’ and a quarter (25 per cent) stating it happens ‘on occasions’.
Fawcett said: “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.”