Attitudes of the British Public to Business Ethics 2024

Publication type: Survey
17 June 2024

Tags: Anti-Bribery & Corruption (ABC), Speak Up, Pay, Tax, Artificial Intelligence (AI)

For over two decades, the IBE has surveyed the British public's attitudes toward business ethics. The survey explores public perception of how ethically business behaves compared to other institutions - politicians, media and charities, along with key ethical issues that business most needs to address.

This year's findings reveal a concerning trend as public trust in all these institutions continues to decline!

Key Findings

  • As shown above, the British public’s view of how ethically business, charities, politicians and the media behave have all worsened by 3 percentage points (pp) in 2024.
  • Public opinion for politicians has dropped to a record low of 14% - leaving them ranked bottom for the 4th consecutive year.
  • Corporate tax avoidance and bribery and corruption remain the top two most important ethical issues to the British public. This is the 12th consecutive year that tax avoidance has been the top ethical concern.
  • All of the top three issues continue to relate to financial issues. As we live through a sustained cost of living crisis, business must do more to demonstrate ethical use of resources.
  •  The top four issues remain the same as in the last two years. However, employees being able to speak out about company wrongdoing has now entered the top 5 issues.
  • 61% of the public believe that it is very important/important for a chief executive’s pay to reflect the ethical performance of their company – a decrease of 7pp from 2023.
  • It is surprising that, as last year, artificial intelligence remains the lowest-ranking ethical issue that the public feels companies need to address. High profile debates on this issue have not led our respondents to see this issue as a high priority.

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IBE Survey - Attitudes of the British Public to Business Ethics 2024