In a development that Andrew Ross Sorkin of The New York Times believes will cause “a firestorm” in boardrooms across the country, Larry Fink, the CEO of BlackRock has sent a letter to the chief executives of the world’s largest public companies urging them to prioritize their company’s social responsibilities.
Sorkin writes that this is likely to be a watershed moment for American companies, given BlackRock’s position as one of the largest investors in the world with more than $6 trillion under management through 401(k) plans, exchange-traded funds and mutual funds.
2017 has been a year of surprises, transformation, and growth. Thirteen months ago, on the morning after Election Day, we walked in to the conference room of a global consulting firm based here in New York City. We sat down at a long table with 30 ethics and compliance officers. We gave our talk as planned—a talk on designing ethical systems. But all of us around the table were in a state of… surprise to say the least. Our conversation focused primarily on the consequences of the rather unexpected election of Donald Trump. What were the implications for businesses? How would rules and enforcement change?
Now, a year later, it is clear that whatever regulations are rolled back, businesses face an ever-changing landscape of ethics challenges. Questions of business ethics and ethical culture are front and center in national discussions on sexual harassment in the workplace, diversity and inclusion (which may include viewpoint and political diversity, as we learned in response to the famous “Google memo”); fairness and cheating, and new pressures on leaders to take stands on political controversies. We are on a path to further deregulation of business. The compliance workload may decrease, but the ethics workload will likely increase. This is the time for the business ethics community to show that, together, we can create a better society through ethical business behavior.
This post originally appeared on The FCPA Blog. It is cross posted here.
On November 28, 2017, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in Digital Realty Trust v. Paul Somers on the question of whether the whistleblower protections of the Dodd-Frank Act extend to internal whistleblowers, or only to those who report to the SEC.
Research shows that the majority of employees who report misconduct do so internally, through informal discussions with managers and other conduits. If the Court interprets the Act’s protections as extending only to those who provide information to the SEC, it could stymie and complicate the important work of ethics & compliance ers.
Azish Filabi (Executive Director of Ethical Systems) and Jeffrey Kaplan (ES collaboarator and Partner at Kaplan & Walker, LLP) recently led a webcast about ethics, research, and culture highlighting new behavioral science tools for the ethics and compliance field. The slides and recording are now available.
The case for business ethics was recently made very clear to me when I co-chaired at the New York State Bar Association International Section’s Seasonal Meeting in Guatemala, particularly as it relates to hidden ethics risks in M&A transactions. I wrote a piece for the Law360 site as part of their "Expert Analysis" explaining these risks. It's a case study about A.P Moller-Maersk who purchased a port in Guatemala in 2016 just before it became embroiled in a corruption scandal, eventually adding another $43M to their acquisition costs to get a new, clean permit.
Interview with Azish Filabi, CEO of Ethical Systems
As the CEO of Ethical Systems, what keeps you motivated? Are you optimistic about the current state of business?
I am motivated every day by the opportunity to connect businesses with research and strategies that will make them more ethical and productive for the long term. We at Ethical Systems believe that good ethics is good business and our mission is to strengthen ethics within organizations by providing content, resources and tools by which to improve internal cultures and climates. It is rewarding to know that our organization is playing a needed role, and connecting with like-minded professionals.
Ethical Systems CEO Azish Filabi, was interviewed in a far-reaching discussion with Hal Conick published on Marketing News, a publication of the American Marketing Association.
In the piece, which covers both the components and traits of an ethical leader as well as how to make ethics front and center in the hiring process and how marketers can be more ethical, Azish connects research with practice, helping identify academic reference points to confirm potential, and profitable, strategies.
Ethical Systems Releases New Behavioral Science eBook: Head to Head: A conversation on behavioral science and ethics
New York, NY – Ethical Systems is pleased to announce the release of Head to Head: A conversation on behavioral science and ethics a new, free eBook created to help practitioners in the ethics and compliance field integrate social and behavioral science research to help strengthen employee-focused programs.
Structured as a series of one-on-one conversations between Ethical Systems CEO Azish Filabi and Ethical Systems collaborator, Jeffrey Kaplan, partner at Kaplan & Walker, LLP, Head to Head demystifies academic research and makes findings applicable to practitioners. Research is curated and explained to make integration into existing programs easy and serviceable. Filabi's deep expertise as a lawyer and work as an Ethics Officer at the NY Fed coupled with Kaplan's pioneering writing on conflict of interest and tenure within the legal community, make for an ideal background from which to distil information and make it palatable for the business world. In addition, Head to Head: A conversation on behavioral science and ethics has been professionally designed to structure content and facilitate the application of the many lessons and tips featured throughout the eBook.
Over at the NYU Law's Compliance and Enforcement blog, ES CEO Azish Filabi has written a guest post on whether companies are in a compliance arms race-- and the detrimental impact it can have on organizational culture and ethics.
Ethical Systems CEO Azish Filabi was invited to deliver the opening remarks at The Banking & Finance Ethics 2017 conference on June 8th in Sydney, Australia. The conference covered the importance of trust and an ethical foundation for the financial services sector; exploring the crucial role individuals play in ensuring that the industry operates with integrity. We present her address below