Raising ethical standards

In recent years, there has been much said about the need to raise ethical standards in business. Politicians, commentators, business leaders and industry spokespeople have all expressed a view.

From the work that we do with individual organisations, we know there is often considerable commitment to raising standards and changing behaviour.

However, when it comes to collective action within an industry or sector, resolve seems to falter at the final hurdle. Numerous codes have been drawn up in several sectors, but when companies are required to demonstrate real commitment, enthusiasm wanes and individual organisations start to break away.

Which is why the Banknote Ethics Initiative (BnEI) has been so impressive. Launched in 2013, BnEI set out to promote ethical business practices across the banknote industry, with a focus on the prevention of corruption and on anti-trust compliance, supported by a robust independent audit.

This is one of the best examples of collective action to raise ethical standards. Companies within the sector are starting to see accreditation as an endorsement of their good conduct and as such are prepared not only to commit to certain standards, but to put themselves to the test.

Little wonder, perhaps that BnEI is gaining international recognition and its principles have been endorsed by the Bank of England, the Bank of Canada, the Reserve Bank of Australia and several others.

It would be good to see this replicated in other sectors.

GoodCorporation audits first companies in the Banknote Ethics Initiative

Screen Shot 2014-02-25 at 16.22.09GoodCorporation has audited the first companies to be accredited under the Banknote Ethics Initiative (BnEI).

Developed to raise standards across the banknote industry, BnEI requires its members to follow a code of conduct developed by the Institute of Business Ethics. GoodCorporation translated that code into an audit framework and developed the methodology. Chief Risk & Compliance Officer at Innovia Security, Geoff Bell was impressed by the audit’s application of integrity and ethics to all parts of the business, describing it as stringent and “extremely thorough”.

Membership is open to all organisations within the industry, who must agree to adhere to the BnEI Code of Ethical Business Practice. All organisations that sign the code must become accredited by passing an audit carried out by one of the scheme’s auditors. Current members include Arjowiggins Security SAS, Crane Currency – a division of Crane & Co., Inc., De La Rue plc, Giesecke & Devrient GmbH, Innovia Security, KBA-NotaSys SA, Note Printing Australia Ltd and SICPA SA.

GoodCorporation debates how to make whistleblowing work


GoodCorporation invited Cathy James, CEO of Public Concern at Work to lead our debate on how to make whistleblowing work.

Cathy began the debate by stating that how an organisation deals with its whistleblowing is a barometer of its ethical culture and values.

The debate highlighted the reasons why whistleblowing can be problematic, looking at the connotations of betrayal and denunciation, the fear of reprisals and the fact that all too often companies fail to act.

Business delegates discussed the effectiveness of an open-door culture, the importance of communication and training, the need to separate grievances from whistleblowing and how effective management of the speak-up system is vital.

Read our blog on how to make whistleblowing work.

GoodCorporation updates the Business Ethics Standard

In the fourth review of the GoodCorporation Business Ethics Standard since its launch in 2001, GoodCorporation has strengthened the human rights and working conditions sections of its responsible business framework.

This development reflects the UK Government’s Action Plan on Business and Human Rights, launched last year in response to the United Nation’s Guiding Principles on Human Rights. In its action plan, the Government states that businesses should treat the risk of causing or contributing to human rights violations as a legal compliance issue.

The revised standard will help UK companies comply with this guidance, while raising standards in their own enterprises as well as in those of service providers working on the organisation’s sites.

In Brief...

GoodCorporation launches first Whistleblowing Framework

GoodCorporation has developed a whistleblowing evaluation framework designed to help organisations ensure that stakeholders can raise concerns without fear.

GoodCorporation’s framework clarifies the leadership, policies, training and monitoring that need to be established in order to make a whistleblowing system work for the benefit of stakeholders and the businesses itself.

Setting up a whistleblowing process is relatively easy. However, it is unlikely to be used or of benefit, if it isn’t part of a trusted ‘open-door’ culture and internal communication process that encourages stakeholders to raise problems or concerns without fear of detriment or reprisal.

In the best companies, senior management want to know what is going on, so create effective systems that encourage employees and other stakeholders to tell them.

Our 30-point Framework can be used to test the strength of such systems, either through an internal assessment or as the basis for an external review. It stipulates the systems and processes that should be implemented, how investigations should be managed, staff trained and the process communicated to other stakeholders.

See the goodblog for more on whistleblowing

Building Better Banks

Richard Lambert, former director general of the CBI, has been asked to establish a professional body to raise standards of conduct across the UK banking industry.

Prior to establishing such a body a consultation process was launched, designed to gather the opinions of the widest possible group of stakeholders.

GoodCorporation supports the notion of an independent body whose purpose is to raise professional standards across the industry and has submitted a detailed response to the questions posed.

New Project Director joins GoodCorporation team

GoodCorporation has appointed Brian Parry to join the senior team as a project director.

An experienced strategic management consultant and former principal consultant at KPMG, Brian will lead assessments for GoodCorporation’s multinational clients.

Prior to joining GoodCorporation, Brian was the Head of Public Engagement for the Central Office of Information. He has worked on projects for major organisations in both the private and public sectors, including for Trinity Mirror Group, Ladbrokes plc, Marks & Spencer, Defra, Ofgem and the Department of Transport.

His expertise encompasses board-level reviews, strategy development, compliance support, public consultations, project management, stakeholder engagement and analysis, policy development and risk management.

A former rower, Brian is also an accomplished chef with an interest in hispanic studies.