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British Industry Demands Recognition for Ethics Reforms

The Society of British Aerospace Companies (SBAC) today seeks to demonstrate to the nation the progress made by the defence industry in delivering an ethical defence sector in the UK.

In the aftermath of BAE Systems' groundbreaking work with the Woolf Committee, where the company undertook to implement the independent body's recommendations before they were known, the industry believes it is time to demonstrate progress and challenge those who attack the industry using decades-old and unproven allegations.

Ian Godden, SBAC Chief Executive, said:

"The defence industry has worked hard to create a Europe-wide common industry standard on ethical business practices. I am confident that the industry is now a leading light in British business in terms of ethical behaviour. Companies are turning away some business rather than risking their corporate reputations. Other industries could learn from the reforms that the defence sector has made in recent years."

Mr Godden continued:

"It is indicative that critics of the industry have to reach back into history to find an alleged, unproven, example of wrongdoing. The present situation is one of an industry reformed and one willing to engage in an open debate with friends and critics alike about how to deal with this complex issue. The future is exceptionally bright in terms of how we do business.

"We accept that a small minority of people believe that the whole concept of defence is itself unethical and therefore in their eyes there can never be an ethical defence industry. We cannot change their minds but we do believe that an ethical defence industry in business terms is now a reality."

The AeroSpace and Defence Industries of Europe (ASD) Common Industry Standards on ethical behaviour have been agreed by the industry across Europe and are now being rolled out to member companies. This includes SBAC members and those of the Defence Manufacturers' Association (DMA) in the UK.

The defence industry is aware that there are two definitions of critic. One questions the whole moral base of the industry and the other questions the business standards. The industry recognises the concerns of the small number of people taking the former point of view but can do little to change their minds. It is therefore focusing on communicating the transformation of the industry in terms of ethical business practices.

To assist companies that operate in the defence industry still further, particularly smaller businesses, the SBAC, together with the DMA, will be hosting a conference looking at "Growing your business in a changing ethical environment" on June 16 in central London.

1. The ASD common industry standards can be found at

2. For more information on the "Growing your business in a changing ethical environment" conference please go to

The Society of British Aerospace Companies (SBAC) is the UK's national trade association representing companies supplying civil air transport, defence, homeland security and space. SBAC encompasses the British Airports Group. Together with its regional partners, SBAC represents over 2,600 companies, assisting them in developing new business globally, facilitating innovation and competitiveness and providing regulatory services in technical standards and accreditation.

The UK has the world's largest aerospace industry outside the USA. UK based aerospace activity had a turnover of more than £20bn in 2006, supporting a highly skilled workforce of over 276,000 people. It is potentially well-placed to exploit further growth in the global marketplace. Orders for the production of aircraft and engines are at record levels. Three new aircraft are produced every day and there are orders in the pipeline for more than 5,000 large aircraft and 10,000 engines.

UK Defence Industry Demands Recognition for Ethics Reforms