Change and Ethics, the two constants in corporate life

  • Ethics Index now in sixth year. 
  • Australian society’s ethical conduct rating down on 2020. 
  • Company secretaries remain the occupation with highest ethical score in the corporate sector. 

Much has changed due to the impact of COVID, including Australia’s perception of ethics and ethical issues in society as illustrated by the results of this year’s Ethics Index. 

The Ethics Index 2021 — a survey of 1,000 people’s attitudes to Australian society’s ethical conduct — has recorded an Ethics Index Score of 45, down from the five-year high of 52 in 2020.  

Governance Institute of Australia’s sixth annual snapshot of perceptions of ethical conduct shows trust in society and institutions fell from a record high of 52 last year to 45 in 2021 after governments fumbled the vaccination rollout and squabbled over border closures. 

Conducted by Ipsos in September, the index score that measures people’s perception of how ethical Australia is as a society is still higher than it has been in previous years, having jumped around from 39 in 2016 to 41 in 2017, 35 in 2018 and 37 in 2019. It shot up to 52 in October last year before dropping back to 45 in September this year. 

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