Farnborough hosts defence ethics summit

UK defence companies are turning away business in their efforts to achieve high ethical standards, according to industry body the Society of British Aerospace Companies.

The claim came as SBAC launched a major drive to promote the ethical business practices of the defence industry with a high-profile meeting at the Farnborough Air Show.

Farnborough provided the backdrop for a meeting at which industry representatives from Europe and the US began work on harmonising their respective ethical codes into a global industry standard. A meeting involving their counterparts from elsewhere in the world was due to follow during the course of the week-long event.

SBAC claims UK business practices have been transformed in recent years, to the extent that the sector now provides examples for other industries in Britain to follow. “The roll-out across Europe of the AeroSpace and Defence Industries of Europe Common Industry Standards on ethical behaviour and other developments, such as the Woolf committee report for BAE Systems, demonstrate the proactive nature of the defence industry in ensuring that their business practices are of the highest standard,” an SBAC statement said.

SBAC chief executive Ian Godden believes the industry has been unfairly accused of unethical practices by opponents using historical cases.

"The defence industry in the UK has transformed itself in recent years to the point at which companies are turning down business to meet the highest of ethical standards,” he said. “Our member companies employ thousands of people across the regions of the UK and unfairly damaging their reputations puts those jobs at risk. We have listened to our critics and reformed. We now hope that they will listen to us and recognise the excellent progress that the British defence industry has made.”

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