A report from the Institute of Business Ethics, published today, suggests that the adoption of agreed
Global Ethics standards for international business could generate and sustain trust between those
engaged in international trade and investments and help reduce poverty.

Towards Ethical Norms in International Business Transactions, revisits the 1995 Interfaith Declaration:
A Code of Ethics for International Business in light of recent international standards and significant
global economic changes, and it describes how multinational corporations seek to apply ethical values
in their relations with their stakeholders wherever they operate.

Simon Webley, the report’s author says: “If agreement can be reached on a universal set of core ethical
values or norms for international business, based on common and long held moral principles, then
economic activity in all its different aspects will have an important new facilitator of economic output.
This in turn would enhance the prospect that more of the world’s population would be enabled to
escape from poverty and benefit from expanded wealth creation.”

The core values would have to be universally acknowledged, the report states, citing, the Golden Rule
– treat others as you would wish to be treated – as the closest there is to a universal norm. “If it is
applied in every instance of business interaction and taken seriously by the parties involved, unethical
behaviour is likely to be reduced with the potential that prosperity will increase.” says Webley.

By setting out some of the challenges in working across cultures, this report aims to assist corporate
directors to formulate a basis of trust for long term commercial relationships wherever they operate in
the world.

Philippa Foster Back CBE, IBE’s Director, welcomed the report. “International companies need to be
more resolute about applying their core ethical values throughout their worldwide operations. A zero
tolerance policy to all forms of bribery, corruption and other forms of misconduct should be a basic

Download the report (pdf)