Cynical about professional ethics? We dispel 3 common myths

With the consultation on the draft international ethics standard now open, the IES Coalition challenge the top three myths about what a global ethics standard means for land, real estate, construction, infrastructure and related professions:

1. That international ethics standards are too high-level to mean anything

The Hippocratic Oath is a Greek medial text that has provided an ethical foundation to the Western medical profession for over 2,500 years – the original version contained only 9 ethical principles. The benefits of creating one universal set of ethics principles for real estate and related professions are clear:

  • Consistency. The International Ethics Standard (IES) principles outline what is expected as a minimum standard for ethical conduct across countries and sectors. Coalition organisations will provide detailed guidance to their members.
  • Transparency. Clearly stated ethical values which are promoted and discussed enable better compliance. Through global collaboration, the 64 coalition organisations are consulting on the standard with relevant practitioners and public and discussing how it can be implemented in different markets and sectors.
  • Clarity. IES aligns ethics principles already found in existing codes of conduct and creates one universal set of principles and a stronger foundation for public trust.

2. That it needs a central enforcement authority for international ethics standards to work

Setting ethics standards for 2.5 million accountants globally is a crucial role performed by the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA) which set up in 1977. The Board provides adoption and implementation support and promotes good ethical practices globally. However, it does not have a direct enforcement role.

As yet, there isn’t one universal ethics standard for our sectors.

Each of the 64 IES Coalition organisations has different ways of promoting ethics standards. This might be through providing regular advice and guidance or by proactively regulating compliance through mandating and monitoring ethics-related CPD.

Once International Ethics Standards are created, Coalition members have committed to promote effective implementation.

3. That one ethics standard cannot be applied globally

The International Ethics Standards will outline principles, not rules.

Principles help guide professional judgement when a individuals and organisations need to decide on appropriate behaviour and action. The extensive consultation process which the IES Coalition is promoting on the draft standard will help ensure that the final published standard is globally applicable.

Tell us what you think about the draft standard