Update Summer 2013

GoodCorporation to host business ethics debate at Compliance Week Europe event

The need for effective global compliance and governance has never been more pronounced. Failing to get these vital areas of management right can have lasting and damaging consequences for international corporations.

From our Business Ethics Debates we know how much of a challenge it can be for multinationals to embed the necessary policies and codes of conduct successfully. This year we are taking our popular Business Ethics Debate format and are co-hosting a discussion on effective anti-corruption compliance at the first Compliance Week conference to be held in Europe.

GoodCorporation’s Leo Martin and Compliance Week editor, Matt Kelly, are leading a panel discussion that will pose the question – “How far should corporations go to combat corruption?” We will be joined by an impressive panel including Gemma Aiolfi  Head of Corporate Governance and Compliance at the Basel Institute on Governance, and Tamara Northcote, Head of ABC at Vodafone.

Compliance Week Europe is being held at the Hotel Sofitel in Brussels from 14-15 October 2013. The debate will be held as the keynote session that closes day one of the conference. The conference will be attended by compliance, risk and audit executives from corporations across Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

GoodCorporation clients and readers of Update are entitled to a €200 discount using the code GoodCorp200. The early-bird rate, available until July 31, is €800.

For more information about the conference or the debate, please contact Sally McGeachie.

GoodCorporation develops framework for Banknote Ethics Initiative

GoodCorporation has developed the auditing framework for the Banknote Ethics Initiative (BnEI) which was launched in May to promote ethical business practices within the banknote industry.
The initiative was set up by a number of leading organisations in the banknote industry, including De La Rue, Crane Currency, Arjowiggins Security, SICPA, KBA NotaSys and Giesecke & Devrient.

Maintaining high ethical standards across the banknote industry is essential if customers and other stakeholders are to be totally confident that business practices are beyond reproach at all times.

BnEI members will be required to adhere to a strict Code of Ethical practice that was developed by the Institute of Business Ethics.

GoodCorporation has translated this code into the BnEI audit framework. The framework sets out a list of good practices that all BnEI member should adopt to ensure the robustness of their management practices in relation to the risks of bribery, corruption and breaches of anti-trust legislation.

Four of the founding companies are working with GoodCorporation to evaluate themselves against the BnEI framework.

Are business ethics getting worse?


Our latest business ethics debate, led by Will Hutton, examined the topic ‘Are business ethics getting worse? It was suggested that business ethics had reached its nadir in the mid-noughties, but was now starting to improve.

Looking back at the origins of the company, it was argued that the role and responsibilities of corporations have changed. When companies were first incorporated in the 16th century, they were required, by law, to have a declaration of purpose. Built into this declaration were the company’s obligations to society, which, it was suggested, helped to ensure that businesses promoted and abided by good business ethics.

Our debate examined how and why the rules changed and looked at the historical and economic factors that had an impact on corporate behaviour. The room was almost equally divided between those who felt that ethics were the same as they had always been and those who felt that there were now real signs of improvement.

To read the debate in full, click here


In Brief...

Vodafone working with GoodCorporation to evaluate ABC systems

As one of the world’s leading mobile phone companies, Vodafone has established compliance controls in place.

As part of reviewing these procedures, in accordance with the adequate procedures guidance under the UK bribery Act, Vodafone has been working with GoodCorporation to evaluate its systems and to benchmark them against other global companies.

Are CR Reports worth it?

CR reports drop into GoodCorporation in-boxes on a daily basis, more often than not, making what they consider to be significant claims about responsible behaviour.

What is most worrying about these claims, is the damage they do to the a proper understanding of what responsible business behaviour really entails.

More often than not, the claims are unrelated to the company’s core activities – what it makes or does and for whom. They say little, if anything about the ethical, environmental and social impacts of the company’s business activities.

As GoodCorporation has argued for over a decade, CR reports will only be taken seriously when they measure what really makes a business responsible: how it sells, how it buys, how it treats its employees, the community and its shareholders.

CR reports have sadly become totally separated from these core issues. Given the crisis of trust in business, it is time to ditch this type of meaningless assessment and move onto a more serious and independent measurement of the real ethical and social impact of business.

Curbing executive pay

Many of the reforms to curb excessive executive pay, announced last month by business minister Jo Swinson, were a step forward.

Facilitating the comparison between company performance and executive pay could help bring about an end to the culture of payments for failure. However, there are limitations as to how effective this legislation can be on its own.

The proliferation of short-term shareholdings means that it is increasingly unlikely that shareholders are actually in a position to hold the executive to account.

The other missed opportunity is that this initiative only covers executive pay and does not look at pay structures as a whole. Extreme divergences in pay, an over-reliance on commissions and short term sales targets have had a corrosive impact on ethical behaviour.

Forward-thinking businesses are starting to put such structures under review, thinking more widely about pay, performance and the development of a healthy business culture.

News and Views

For the latest GoodCorporation views on ethics and responsible practice you can visit our website or read our thoughts on the goodblog. We are also on twitter.