The EY Global Integrity Report 2020 reveals a heightened risk of unethical conduct amid the pandemic — and the critical actions to mitigate it.
Amid the turmoil from COVID-19 businesses, governments and individual citizens are faced with new and significant decisions that pose difficult ethical dilemmas.
From retailers deciding how best to protect their employees and customers while providing essential supplies to communities, to corporate boards assessing whether to continue paying dividends to income-dependent shareholders while claiming government relief, doing the right thing has never been harder. That’s reflected in the results of the EY Global Integrity Report 2020 (pdf), revealing insights from several thousand companies across the world — both from before the pandemic’s spread and as it accelerated.
The level of scrutiny on business from wider society has intensified. Decisions taken by businesses and governments in crisis mode at the height of the pandemic will be judged over the coming months and years. Acting with integrity is now more important than ever. But when the challenges are greater, the risks are as well. How can companies navigate such a landscape with so many potential financial and reputational pitfalls?
Moment of truth: corporate integrity in turbulent times
The vast majority of respondents surveyed at the height of the pandemic believe that COVID-19 poses a risk to ethical business conduct at their organization. Indeed, significant numbers of employees remain willing to act unethically for personal financial gain, and the global pandemic is only exacerbating this by increasing the incentives and opening new avenues for them to do so.
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