When we talk about ethics, we sometimes focus on the moral implications of a particular role in business. One role that is often overlooked is that of the customer. This article outlines how “the ethical customer always engages in business with a provider in an honest and forthright way,” which “can result in receiving exemplary service from a provider.” It is important to remember that every transaction in business has at least two sides, and scrupulous attention to fairness is paramount for repeat players in an environment where reputation can mean the difference between failure and success.
Despite increasing attention to compliance and ethics programs, compliance remains a function of business that is often ignored until it is too late–which can expose a company to unnecessary and potentially dangerous risks. Here are a few ways that a CCO can exert influence on enterprise-wide risk management: (1) Aligning Compliance Investments with Compliance Risk Ratings and Business Priorities; (2) Recognizing the Scope and Magnitude of Compliance’s Impact on Value; and (3) Taking Advantage of Compliance Strengths to Pursue “Upside” Value.
We always enjoy it when a high-level executive speaks out on the need for robust business ethics, and we are particularly happy when a leading company makes room at the top for a Chief Ethics Officer, such as Emmanuel Lulin of L’Oreal. In an interview in Nigeria last week, Lulin spoke of the organization’s vision “to build a company that has integrated ethics in strategic thinking and day-to-day operations.” Setting a good example for an industry (and the business climate writ large) means having leadership willing to “walk the talk.” It is not always easy to challenge prevailing norms in a competitive environment, but given the research showing how strong ethics pays off, we are confident that companies willing to systematically pursue ethical policies will positively influence each other and eventually create a feedback loop that shifts the competition in the right direction.
A couple months back we covered the Ethisphere Institute’s eighth annual list of the World’s Most Ethical Companies. Last week, the Institute released its 2014 Ethics Communications Best Practices Report, which “highlights strategies and tactics for leveraging ethics and integrity as differentiating brand attributes.” Featuring insights from experts in communications, academia, law, and compliance, the report showcases the best practices that enabled companies to attain WME recognition. We hope this will be a useful practical guide as well as a source of encouragement for all businesses reaching for a high standard of ethical conduct.