Cost and profit: How better business ethics save money

VW, FIFA and Enron — you can’t ignore the stories. Get ethics wrong and we’re not just talking about reputational damage, we’re talking about huge fines which corporations have to pay to governments and regulators for bribery and corruption breaches.

The costs of a high-profile ethical breach can be insurmountable. Reportedly, 11 million cars were affected by the VW emissions scandal and according to the Financial Times, €6.5 billion has been set aside to fix the problem. This doesn’t take into account the huge fall in share price and brand damage.

Research by Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand titled ‘Why business ethics matter… to your bottom line’,  lists fines levelled against corporations for ethical breaches. There are many examples but let’s remind ourselves of two from 2012:

  • Fraud caused by one individual at a financial services firm resulted in a fine of £29.7 million
  • A well-known British bank had to pay £290 million for manipulating key interest rates

Help shape ethics in our sectors

Real estate and related professions are increasingly globalised and massive investment continues to flow into land, construction and infrastructure. For this reason, we must continue to promote the important role that ethical values play in promoting good business and protecting hard earned reputations.

With this context in mind, the IES Coalition would like you to respond to the International Ethics Standards consultation. Your feedback will make sure that the first set of global ethics principles for land, real estate, construction and infrastructure are high-quality, understood and accepted.