Q&A

What is the objective of the IES Coalition?
The principal purpose of the International Ethics Standards (IES) Coalition is to research, develop, publicise and implement International Ethics Standards for the land, property, construction, infrastructure and related professions. The IES Coalition supports the creation, maintenance and use of high quality, international and principle-based ethics standards through a transparent and inclusive standard setting process. Coalition Members have committed to promote the effective implementation of the standard and encourage world markets to accept and adopt it.

What are the benefits of having an IES Coalition for these sectors?
Representative real estate and related professional bodies exist to guide, enhance and promote the professional, technical and ethical expertise of their members. Establishing one global Coalition of experts creates a way to undertake extensive consultation and combine the existing ethical knowledge about different real estate markets and related disciplines. By harmonizing many existing codes of conduct, the IES Coalition aims to create one over-arching standard for real estate and related professions.

What are the benefits of having International Ethics Standards (IES) for real estate and related professions?
Creating one over-arching set of ethical principles will help real estate and related professional organisations better promote values that allow ethical business to flourish.

Do other professions have global ethics standards?
Yes. The global accountancy profession is governed by the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA). IESBA issues ethical standards for use by professional accountants and its member bodies. Accountancy bodies such as the Association of Chartered and Certified Accountants (ACCA) and Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) are required to comply with the principles included in the IESBA code of ethics.

Are participating organizations expected to give up their existing codes of conduct in favour of the new International Ethics Standards?
No. The majority of non-profit real estate organizations have long promoted their own codes of conduct which are a vital part of their member value proposition. Most, if not all, have a similar foundation in that they demand honest, decent and trustworthy behaviour as well as competence in the services offered.

Many codes are based on established norms and customs in specific localities, states or regions and do not claim a global application. Others set out to regulate single disciplines, e.g. brokerage, valuation, architecture or management. They do not attempt to address all sectors of the profession.

The objective of the IES Coalition is to introduce, at an international level, one shared set of values reflecting key principles on which the entire profession can agree and to which all existing codes of conduct will conform. The adoption internationally of fundamental standards will leave a vital and permanent role for individual professional bodies. They will be free to retain their own more detailed and possibly more stringent rules, if they wish, on the understanding that there is no conflict with the new standards.

What are business ethics?
Ethics refer to the standard characteristics of an activity or profession. Different categories of ethics shape different professions. The Institute of Business Ethics defines ethics as ‘the application of ethical values to business behaviour’.
Ethical values refer to how we conduct business with different stakeholder groups, employees and customers. Questions we might consider when thinking about ethical values in business:
• Do we do conduct our business in a way which promotes transparency and trust in the global profession?
• Would we be happy for others to know about our individual business conduct or that of the organisation we work for?
• Are we comfortable with the effect of our decisions and actions?

What are the benefits of business ethics and doing business ethically?
Behaving ethically is at the heart of what it means to be a professional; it distinguishes professionals from others in the marketplace.
Embracing ethical business can bring many commercial benefits to individuals, businesses, their stakeholders and wider society. Evidence suggests that acting ethically in business fosters greater trust, transparency and confidence among investors, improves industry reputation, customer retention and also employee motivation.
High-profile media reports continue to expose many ethical issues in different industries and this can cause share prices to fall, harm the sales of products and services, and damage long-term customer trust and confidence.

What is an international standard?
In the context of the work being undertaken by the IES Coalition, an international standard is something which has been established and agreed at the international level and which is implemented and delivered locally.
The standard itself is owned by the whole Coalition and not by any one organisation. Professional organisations subscribe to the shared international standard and commit to its use and implementation through their memberships.

How does an international standard work?
Developed and agreed (in coalition) at the international level, an international standard provides high-level and universal rules. Professional institutions incorporate these high-level rules within their own guidance and all participate in the implementation of the shared international standard through their respective memberships.

Why we need IES
Why is IES being looked at now?
Property and the built environment plays a huge role in our working and non-working lives as well as being a major contributor to local, regional and national and global economies. It is therefore essential that ethics guides the behaviour of property professionals, builds trust and improves the reputation of the global profession.
IES is being developed in response to mounting evidence which suggests businesses which adopt strong ethical practices receive greater levels of trust from customers, employees and other stakeholder groups.

Who is involved
Who is involved in the IES project?
Any international, national or regional not-for-profit organization serving the land, property, construction, infrastructure or related professions is eligible to be a Member of the Coalition.

Who forms the IES Coalition?
The International Ethical Standards (IES) Coalition support the creation, maintenance and use of high quality, international and principle-based ethics standards through a transparent and inclusive standard setting process.

The initial group of Coalition members (“the Trustees”) who have signed the IES Coalition Declaration nominate Standard Setting Committee (SSC) members. The Board of Trustees is the principal governing body of the Coalition, consisting of one representative Trustee, and one alternate, designated by each Coalition Member.
The Coalition in their role as Trustees established a process of selection and deselection of the Standard Setting Committee members as necessary, as well as the Terms of Reference and process adopted. The Coalition did not have a direct role in the standards setting process.

What is the Standards Setting Committee?
The Standards Setting Committee (SSC) was formed with delegated authority to write IES. The SSC consists of a number of individuals appointed by the Coalition; including a chair, vice and executive secretary. Each was selected based on their skills, experience and ability to set IES.
The Committee had responsibility for drafting IES within the parameters laid down for them by the Trustees. They regularly reported to the Coalition to demonstrate progress against agreed milestones.

What is an IES ‘Supporter’?
Entities around the world that do not meet the criteria to join the Coalition but who wish to voice their support for the IES process will be considered to be “Supporters” of IES, divided into Business, Academic and Government. Please see contact form

What is the IES Board of Trustees?
The Board of Trustees is the principal governing body of the Coalition, consisting of one representative Trustee, and one alternate, designated by each Coalition Member.

How IES works
How will IES be implemented?
IES will create a set of over-arching principles which Coalition member organisations will implement.

Getting involved
How does my organisation join the IES Coalition?
Any international, national or regional not-for-profit organization serving the real estate or related professions is eligible to be a member of the Coalition.
Any applications to join as a new Coalition member will be considered by the Board of Trustees. If the applicant fulfils the criteria for joining, this will be decided by the Trustees following a recommendation from the Officers. Please see the contact form

Other questions
Is IES in other languages?
Once IES has been drafted, consulted on and agreed, it will be translated into a number of languages.

What is the cost of using IES?
There will be no cost for accessing and using IES and Coalition organisations can provide advice and guidance about implementing the standard.