IMPORTANT Website terms of use and cookie statement

RIBA’s ethical principles

The Royal Institute of British Architects is a charity, and we serve our members and society in order to deliver better buildings and places, stronger communities and a sustainable environment. Being inclusive, ethical and environmentally aware underpins all that we do. RIBA is a member of the UN Global Compact.

RIBA has a responsibility to carry out its purposes for the public benefit but for its beneficiaries – its members.

The interests of the membership and the public are at the heart of what RIBA and those who work and volunteer for RIBA in the pursuance of the objects of RIBA which is the advancement of architecture and the promotion of the acquirement of the knowledge of the arts and sciences connected therewith.

RIBA will:

  • be clear about its purpose and who its beneficiaries are
  • carry out its purpose to provide the greatest benefit to their beneficiaries and their cause, regardless of whether this might initially have a negative impact on the reputation or operation of the charity or its leadership
  • when working with beneficiaries, ensure that their views and experiences are actively listened to and taken account of as part of how the charity operates, facilitating engagement and communication
  • ensure that all relevant policies and procedures are drawn up with the interests of beneficiaries in mind.


RIBA and those who work and volunteer in and with the institute should uphold the highest level of institutional integrity and personal conduct at all times.

RIBA will:

  • ensure appropriate systems are in place to help guarantee that all decisions are robust, defensible and free from conflict of interest
  • ensure its resources are managed responsibly and their funds are properly protected, applied and accounted for, including policies and procedures to combat the risk of bribery, fraud, corruption and extortion
  • exercise due diligence in understanding the ethical standards of commercial partners and individuals
  • be sensitive to the impact of its activities on both natural and human environment by:
    • making responsible use of their resources
    • adopting sustainable working practices
    • undertaking initiatives to promote environmental responsibility.


RIBA will:

  • create a culture and space where members, supporters and the architectural community, as well as the wider public, can see and understand we deal with problems when they arise and how we spend their funds.
  • operate a presumption of openness and transparency; subject to complying with existing legal and regulatory requirements, RIBA will share information about how it works, ensuring it is easily accessible
  • publish its:
    • annual reports, including a section explaining how the charity is fulfilling its purpose and values
    • approach to safeguarding, bullying and harassment
    • complaints procedure
    • whistleblowing policy
  • establish clear lines of responsibility and accountability for all its work, both internally and externally where applicable.

Right to be safe

Every person who volunteers with, works for or comes into contact with RIBA should be treated with dignity and respect, and feel that they are in a safe and supportive environment.

RIBA has a responsibility to create an inclusive culture that does not tolerate inappropriate, discriminatory, offensive or harmful behaviour towards any person who works for, volunteers with, or comes into contact with us.

People’s wellbeing and mental health are valued and promoted, so that anyone working at RIBA or coming into contact with us is encouraged to value and invest in their own health and wellbeing.

RIBA will:

  • stand against and have a clear approach to prevent abuse of trust and power including bullying, intimidation, harassment, discrimination or victimisation in all their activities
  • create a culture that supports the reporting and resolution of allegations, suspicions or concerns about abuse of any kind or inappropriate behaviour
  • ensure that anyone working or volunteering for the charity understands the expectations placed upon them, and provide the relevant training to support them in meeting their responsibilities
  • ensure that anyone who works or volunteers in the charity has access to proper support and advice if they:
    • experience or witness unacceptable behaviour
    • raise a concern or make an allegation about the actions of others
    • don’t feel safe

To learn more about embedding ethical principles into your own practice, check out the RIBA Ethical Practice Guide, available from RIBA Books. Architects play a pivotal role in society - and this practical guide for ethical practice in architecture acts as a knowledge base for all architects.

Published 19 July 2023

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