Small business owners in the UK's architecture sector have more faith in their employees and are more concerned about the ethical behaviour of their suppliers than in any other industry, according to research published today.
Over 1,000 small business owners were contacted across various sectors and asked if they believe that they act ethically for a survey conducted on behalf of the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT). More than 90 per cent of architecture businesses said that they "always act ethically", compared to 31 per cent in manufacturing and 25 per cent in information technology.
"SMEs (small and medium enterprises) in the Architecture sector are the most ethical," said the AAT in a statement.
Architects were also more likely to consider the ethical behaviour of their suppliers than any other industry, with over 80 per cent of architecture respondents claiming to think about this before agreeing to work with other businesses.
Despite being the least likely to have a formal code of conduct for employees, small architecture businesses were also the most likely to trust their employees to "do the right thing if they believe there is any unethical activity occurring in the workplace" according to the AAT, who commissioned independent market research company Opinion Matters to conduct the survey.
"In the finance and accounting sector, we are well aware of the importance of ethics in business and the role it plays, said Adam Harper, AAT's director of professional development. "New clients are likely to be drawn to work with organisations that demonstrate their integrity, so we take the view that ethical companies are sustainable companies."
"It's also important for small businesses to examine their supply chains and to ensure that the people they are doing business with also act ethically to protect brand reputation but also to ensure fair play within industry sectors. A businesses supply chain is as much a reflection on their organisation as their employees are."
The AAT did not define what it considered to be "ethical" behaviour for a company.