IBE publish a new report, FTSE 100 Codes of Ethics: room for improvement 

IBE news
09 August 2021

Tags: Speak Up, Code of Ethics

Less than half of FTSE 100 companies have Codes of Ethics that are up to scratch, according to new research by the Institute of Business Ethics.

Most FTSE 100 companies have a publicly available Code of Ethics of some sort, but barely half of these were rated adequate when assessed by the IBE.

In spite of codes being a well-established means for companies to facilitate values-based decision-making and communicate cultural expectations, almost one in five FTSE 100 companies still do not have a publicly available code. 

Dr Ian Peters, IBE’s Director, said: “A good code of ethics does not guarantee good corporate behaviour but a poor one or, worse still, no code at all, is a strong indicator of a weak ethical culture.
Some companies are doing a good job. They provide user-friendly, meaningful guidance; they explain clearly how employees can speak up; their codes are explicitly endorsed by senior leadership; documentation is kept up to date. For others, it is time to take a serious look at what they are doing.”


Key findings of the research are:

  • Only 46 codes were rated as ‘good’ by the IBE
  • 19 FTSE 100 companies have no publicly available code
  • Less than half (48) companies had up-to-date codes reviewed in the last three years (IBE recommended best practice)

Simple but effective improvements that many companies could make include:

  • Add a clear endorsement of the code by senior leadership
  • Explain clearly how people can speak up if they have any ethical concerns 
  • Set out what people can expect from the speak up process and include a clear commitment to zero tolerance of retaliation 
  • Include effective guidance for employees, such as a decision-making framework, FAQs, and real examples of ethical dilemmas.

For further information, contact Laura Petty, Communications Manager.

Download the report here...