Taking the lead on ethical business
Taking the lead on ethical business
The ethical behavior of a company is in sharp focus in the global business environment. It reflects the way we work with our customers and suppliers and is something in which we take pride, explains Alexander Lunshof.
Regarding essential business practices, Ernst and Young conducted the European Fraud Survey 2011, with responses from over 2,300 people across 25 countries. The thrust of the survey was to understand employee views on ethics and compliance, particularly with regard to fraud and corruption, the related risks and overall tolerance thresholds.
It very clearly indicates the direct relationship between a company's strong ethics and compliance program, employee satisfaction and how a reputation for integrity results in winning business, especially in developing markets. And the survey clearly reflects economic benefits in return for promoting and delivering high ethical standards.
UK Bribery Act
Recent legislation, the UK Bribery Act 2010, is causing companies in all industries to revisit whether they have ethical business practices. Historically, the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) dominated the scene, and there have been many successful prosecutions since it was enacted in the 1970s. The UK Bribery Act takes the FCPA several steps further, in response to pressure from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to tighten up how the UK deals with fraud and bribery.
The Bribery Act does not just cover active bribery of public officials like the FCPA did. It covers active or passive bribery involving anyone, anywhere, as long as there is a close connection with the UK.
meeting customer demand
Increasing numbers of enterprises are focusing on their service providers' compliance and ethics commitments, and especially their suppliers' ability to provide support and evidence when they are audited. This is important because audit requirements are more prevalent due to the Bribery Act and other similar regulatory and legislative changes touching all industries.
Orange recognizes that enterprises are looking at imposing new standards of ethics and compliance on all suppliers. As such, they are increasingly asking comprehensive questions about how we manage our own compliance obligations. More importantly, we also want to demonstrate how we help support the customer's industry-imposed or country-specific requirements wherever possible.
In the past, our ethics strategy has come in the form of training, awareness raising and promotion of uniform policy across regions and domains along with regular communications updates on applicable laws and regulations from country managers. In the UK for example, training on the Bribery Act was rolled out and reached an extremely high attendance rate of 99% for UK permanent employees. We plan to roll out similar training globally with the support of country managers and regional legal and regulatory teams.
Orange also promotes zero tolerance policies to issues such as corruption and bribery, with several key teams liaising with each other to develop and maintain a compliance and ethics task force. Examples of our work, past, present and future, provide a critical basis for the value we wish to bring to our customers and positions Orange and FT Group to be a leader in ethics and compliance excellence.
Our commitment to ethics and compliance is not just about going through the motions and ticking boxes. It is about living and promoting the essential business and ethical practices that will give our customers the edge they are looking for in a supplier.
Alexander Lunshof is General Counsel at Orange Business Services.