Ethical reporting doesn't need law
Complex legislation is not the solution to ethical reporting which would force business to comply with the 'letter of the law rather than the spirit', according to an expert in ethical business.
Sheena Carmichael, an essayist for Demos writing in Accountancy Age, said that in the long-term the development of business ethics must lie in trust-based relationships.
By creating hard and fast rules, Carmichael said there is a danger that the ‘compliance mentality is that only the minimum is done’.
But, Peter Williams, freelance writer, said the framework for ethical rules should not be left to business to decide.
Williams said: ‘The context and restraints in which it [business] pursues those profits need to be clearly defined by external agencies. The corporation does not have a responsibility to act as judge and jury determining questions of its own ethics.’
He concluded that the way forward is through ‘detailed rules that answers the history and culture of the local situation.’.