Public attitudes: Corporate tax avoidance is the top business ethics issue survey finds

Corporate tax avoidance, followed by executive pay are the key business ethics issues identified by the general public in a survey conducted for the Institute of Business Ethics.

The top five issues in respect of company behaviour, that respondents most felt needed addressing were corporate tax avoidance (34%); executive pay (25%); exploitative labour (20%); employees being able to speak out about company wrongdoing (19%) and discrimination (18%).

The annual survey of public attitudes to business, now its 12th year, also found that 39% believe that companies behave unethically, although 59% believe they behave ethically and when asked if they believe that companies are behaving more ethically than 10 years ago, 31% believe they are, up from 25% last year.

Work-life balance for employees is the issue that has risen the most in prominence in the past year and the environmental responsibility of companies has also become more important to the public. Executive pay saw the biggest drop in concern amongst the public between 2014 and 2015.

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