Business ethics trends for 2019
Ethical conduct was firmly in the spotlight for much of 2018 and for a variety of reasons, from the #MeToo movement which pushed bullying and harassment onto board agendas, through to the implementation of GDPR which turned us all into data privacy experts.
Despite the many geopolitical challenges around the world and the many forecasts predicting a slowdown in global economic growth, the impetus for businesses to be run ethically will continue in 2019. As the Financial Reporting Council states, poor ethical conduct is a business risk in itself.
Our first blog post for 2019 looks forward to the business ethics areas that look set to dominate over the coming months including culture measurement, ESG, data protection, human rights and economic crime.
Much of this is being driven by regulation. Businesses cannot afford to turn a blind eye and hope that nothing goes wrong. Corporate leaders need to set the right tone and back it up with actions.
The changing face of anti-corruption prosecution
GoodCorporation was delighted that Lisa Osofsky, director of the Serious Fraud Office, was able to open our debate on the changing landscape of anti-corruption prosecution.
Emphasising that the SFO will continue its robust approach to prosecution, Osofsky stated that those in law enforcement are likely to be working ever more closely to build successful cases. Not only will this involve increased cooperation and information sharing, it will also require a change in investigative methods with digital forensic capability becoming a priority.
The SFO recognises that companies have made significant progress in their anti-corruption efforts and are increasingly ready to listen to those willing to talk. Deferred Prosecution Agreements are felt to be effective and the SFO is considering drafting guidance to help companies understand what cooperation with the SFO means.
Are ESG investments changing corporate behaviour?
As the purpose versus profit debate continues to gather momentum, GoodCorporation’s final debate of 2018 asked whether investors and the focus on ESG funding are starting to drive change?
Georg Kell, chairman of Arabesque Partners and the founding director of the UN Global Compact opened the discussion by suggesting that there is now a real alignment between sustainable finance and responsible business practice.
Today, ESG investing is estimated at around $20 trillion in assets under management and this is likely to grow according to Kell. This presents a real opportunity for those corporates in a position to present strong ESG information that will enable them to access this capital.
As for changing behaviour, there is evidence that this is starting, but there is still a way to go.
GoodCorporation speaking at Chatham House
GoodCorporation Director Jane Ellis will be exploring the role of corporate governance in setting the standards for responsible business practice at the third annual Chatham House Responsible Business conference. The event is taking place at Chatham House on Feb 28.
The challenge of ESG
ESG is a challenge for many companies, but some are starting to realise that fund managers are not investing in building ESG teams to tick boxes or review paper.
Our work with Yara shows how some of the innovators are responding.
Ethics & compliance in French companies
Tough new French legislation has placed ethics and compliance issues at the forefront for French companies.
Some are already leading the way, others are investing time and resources. We summarise how our French company has been working with businesses on a range of ethics issues.
New supplier code of conduct at the FCO
Our article looks at the FCO’s expectations and what this means for businesses tendering for government work.