Ethics valued over profits by FDs

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Finance directors believe companies should adopt ethical policies even if they come at the expense of profit, according to an exclusive survey.

This week’s Accountancy Age/ Reed Accountancy Big Question found that 55% of those asked would be happy for their company to adopt more ethical policies despite the risks this could pose to the bottom line. Only 23% thought ethics should be kept out of business while 22% remained neutral.

‘I believe taking a long-term view that [adopting an ethical policy] is the correct course of action,’ said Ian Cameron, financial director at Aortech. ‘Behaving in an ethical manner is of utmost importance,’ said another FD. ‘It can lead to a sense of injustice when less ethical behaviour generates success, but reputation is a very valuable commodity.’

The Co-operative Group is one of the best examples of a company that puts its ethical policies at the forefront of its business practice and has just recorded its ninth successive year of record profits. But some think they would alter their stance if the situation changed. ‘I am not sure they would be so ethical if profits began to suffer significantly,’ said one FD.

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