Monday, January 18, 2016

The Transport Sector Needs Ethics - Particularly in the Light of Freight and Logistics Scandals

Antitrust and Cartel Activities Weigh Heavy on the Industry's Reputation
Shipping News Feature
UK – WORLDWIDE – A recently released report from asset management group Close Brothers reveals that a sizeable number of small and medium sized companies (SMEs) within the transport sector lack an ethics policy as they feel it to be surplus to their requirements. With the continuing series of antitrust and cartel scandals afflicting many of the larger firms in the freight and logistics market this may well be a policy which should be given a little more thought.

The Close Brothers Business Barometer found that, despite over one third of those UK based SME’s questioned stating they were ‘too small’ for such a policy, 58% had been on the receiving end of unethical business practices, with 9% saying it happens ‘a lot’ and a quarter stating it happens ‘on occasions’.

An ethics policy commits an organisation to give the utmost care to maintaining the safety, health and welfare of the public in the performance of its professional duties. Additionally it guarantees to act in a way to uphold and enhance the honour and dignity of the profession, both on a personal and company-wide level. Equally all in the business will undertake to treat others with respect, indifferent to gender, race, creed, religion or colour and furthermore with disregard of sexual orientation, marital and family status or age and nationality.

This code of ethics, coupled with a demonstration of integrity and honesty, define how people within an organisation will interact with one another, as well as how they will communicate with any customers or clients they serve and any vendors or suppliers that they come into contact with, forms the backbone of such a policy. John Fawcett, Managing Director of the Transport Division at Close Brothers Asset Finance said:

“With business growth high on the agenda for many SME owners in 2016, the importance of good ethical behaviour will play an increasing role in how their businesses are perceived, both internally and externally. Over two thirds of firms we talked to said that success is dependent on high standards of business ethics. With this in mind, it is clear that good trusting relationships with clients, employees, suppliers and the community are vital in business.

“Business owners and managers will also recognise the importance of trust and ethics when they are on the receiving end of ‘unethical business practice’. Even though many smaller organisations have an informal understanding about how business is done, there are clear advantages to having a formal code in place, not least because they will inform business practice and greatly enhance the organisation’s reputation.”