ETHICS IN THE NEWS
Forbes, January 16th 2018, BlackRock CEO Tells Companies to Contribute to Society. Here’s Where to Start
Ethics Issue: …Fink’s clarion call for CEOs to seize the mantle of leadership in making the world a better place, beyond simply delivering profits…
Ethics Answer: See Ethically Managed resources here to make ethics central to business.
The Washington Post, July 13th 2017, What Makes Whistleblowers Speak Out
Ethics Issue: The consequences of blowing the whistle shouldn’t be underestimated…
Ethics Answer: Provide employees with an anonymous communication channel with an ethics hotline from MYECCHO.
New York Times, July 6th 2017, When the Boss Wants You to Do Something Unethical
Ethics Issue: Fear of retaliation is a real business risk…
Ethics Answer: Instate a hotline from MYECCHO.
Science Magazine, March 9th 2016, Corrupt Societies Encourage Lying
Ethics Issue: People benchmark their dishonesty with what they’re surrounded by in their daily life…
Ethics Answer: Promote an honest culture with an ethics program.
Ethical Systems, June 22nd 2015, Interested in an Ethical Culture? Build an Ombuds Program
Ethics Issue: “Grievances cannot be redressed unless they are known, and they cannot be known but through complaints…If these are deemed affronts and the messengers punished as offenders, who will henceforth send petitions? …Where complaining is a crime, hope becomes despair.” – Ben Franklin
Ethics Answer: Start your ombuds program with a hotline from MYECCHO.
The Wall Street Journal, December 19th 2014, Buffett Reminds His Top Managers: Reputation is Everything
Ethics Issue: “We can afford to lose money – even a lot of money. But we can’t afford to lose reputation – even a shred of reputation.”
Ethics Answer: Sign up for an ethics hotline today.
BBC, August 7th 2014, The Slippery Slope of Getting Away with Small Stuff
Ethics Issue: What can companies do to prevent ethical lapses?
Ethics Answer: Nip it in the bud. See components of an ethics program here.
The New Yorker, October 31st 2013, Inside The Cheater’s Mind
Ethics Issue: How can cheating be discouraged?
Ethics Answer: Have employees sign receiving and understanding your ethics code and training; display conspicuously the availability of your ethics hotline.
New York Times, August 2nd 2013, The Whistle-Blower’s Quandary
Ethics Issue: “To encourage whistle-blowing, emphasize FAIRNESS in ethics codes… and the “larger LOYALTY” of the “greater good.”
Ethics Answer: Encourage whistle-blowing by providing an ethics hotline.
Corporate Executive Board Compliance & Ethics Leadership Council, April 2013, State of the Compliance and Ethics Function: Key Findings from the 2012 Member Survey
Ethics Issue: “Compliance and ethics is now involved in every aspect of company operations from planning (risk assessment) to production (licensing, safety, supply chain), to selling (trade compliance, antitrust, anti-corruption), and to marketing (fair competition, disclosures, social media)…The most important program goals to the Board and Senior Management are: (1) promoting a corporate culture of integrity, (2) reducing legal and compliance liabilities, damages, and fines, (3) protecting company reputation, and (4) identifying legal and compliance risks.” More at executiveboard.com.
The American Society of Safety Engineers, March 25th 2013, Organizations That Discourage Dissent Liekly to Have Increased Safety Risks
Ethics Issue: “One of the greatest risks to worker safety in today’s business climate is the silence of its employees.
Ethics Answer: Help employees speak up with an anonymous hotline.
The Guardian, December 6th 2012, Business Ethics Survey Shows Increased Pressures at Work
Ethics Issue: “In business ethics, there are no lone gunmen – the theory that integrity failures are caused by just one person behaving badly…Kaptein cites ‘acceptance of small theft’ as something which may indicate a culture susceptible to integrity failure.”
DOJ, November 14th 2012, The Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission Release FCPA Resource Guide
Ethics Issue: “DOJ and SEC may decline to pursue charges against a company based on the company’s effective compliance program, or may otherwise seek to reward a company for its program, even when that program did not prevent the particular underlying FCPA violation that gave rise to the investigation.”
Ethics Answer: “An effective compliance program should include a mechanism for an organization’s employees and others to report suspected or actual misconduct or violations of the company’s policies on a confidential basis and without fear of retaliation. Companies may employ, for example, anonymous hotlines…”
Fortune, September 7th 2012, Colleagues ethically challenged? How to handle it
Ethics Issue: What do you do when you witness less-than-ethical behavior on the part of a boss or people under you?
Ethics Answer: Annie gives sage advice. Make it even easier on employees by providing an ethics hotline that allows anonymous reporting.
Bloomberg, July 30th 2012, Fortune 500 Firms Face Unique Pressures Leading to Ethical Lapses, Report Reveals
Ethics Issue: “When employees saw misconduct, they were willing to report it…42% of employees who saw misconduct and decided not to report it said they had doubts about the confidentiality of the process. Meanwhile, 15% said they did not report misconduct because they did not know whom to contact.”
Ethics Answer: Provide employees with an ethics hotline that assures confidentiality and includes various reporting methods.
Ethics Resource Center, May 31st 2012, Just What Is A Whistleblower
Ethics Issue: “Whistleblowers almost always make some effort to root out wrongdoing internally before going outside the organization with their concerns.”
Ethics Answer: Provide employees with a whistleblower hotline and “respond quickly and effectively when employees report misconduct.”
Wall Street Journal, Corruption Currents, May 23rd 2012, Survey Finds Unethical Business Practices on the Rise
Ethics Issue: “Chief financial officers surveyed felt they could justify potentially unethical practices to help business survive during an economic downturn.”
Ethics Answer: “The survey highlighted the need for stronger internal corporate controls.”
Forbes, April 18th 2012, How to Find and Stop Fraud Within Your Organization
Ethics Issue: “The typical organization loses 5% of its annual revenue to fraud…[and] ACFE’s research has consistently shown that small companies are equally victimized by fraud.”
Ethics Answer: Instate a whistleblower hotline allowing employees to report suspected fraudulent activity.
Huffington Post, January 6th 2012, Company Retaliation Against Whistleblowers Rises To All-Time High, Survey Finds
Ethics Issue: “Even though more workers are witnessing violations of company rules, they’re feeling pressure not to say anything…”
Ethics Answer: Instate an anonymous whistleblower hotline with a clear non-retaliation policy.
Corporate Counsel, November 17th 2011, SEC Reports Record Year for Fraud Enforcements, Expects More in 2012
Ethics Issue: The Dodd-Frank Act – with provisions which offer monetary rewards to whistleblowers – was signed into law July 21, 2010. And now: “The Securities and Exchange Commission last week reported a record number of enforcement actions for the 2011 fiscal year, and…suggests that record is sure to be broken next year.” However, The National Whistleblowers Center finds, “The existence of a whistleblower rewards program has no negative impact on the willingness of employees to utilize internal corporate compliance programs…The overwhelming majority of employees voluntarily utilized internal reporting processes [first].”
Ethics Answer: An Ethics Hotline gives your employees an internal reporting mechanism.
The Economist, September 24th 2011, Corporate Culture | The view from the top, and bottom
Ethics Issue: A rules-based culture may be too inflexible to cope with the challenges of globalization and technological change. Thus, companies are trying to instill a values-based culture in which employees can be trusted to do the right thing because they know what the firm stands for.
Ethics Answer: The study finds a values-based culture is less likely to see unethical behavior. An ethics program supports your values-based culture.
The Daily Beast, August 2nd 2011, News Corp.’s Code of Conduct
Ethics Issue: Ethics Code: (1) Keep it short. (2) Tell employees how to think, not what to do. (3) Stay specific. (4) Make the document real. (5) Make sure managers live the code.
Ethics Answer: At MYECCHO your organization’s ethics code is readily available to employees along with your custom ethics hotline.
The Telegraph, June 30th 2011, Political correctness is good for business, say UBS economists
Ethics Issue: “Any society – or indeed, any company – that exhibits prejudiced behavior (racism, xenophobia, religious intolerance, homophobia, sexism, prejudice against people with disabilities) is basically sending out a major ‘sell’ signal to all concerned.”
Ethics Answer: Support diversity and instate an Ethics Hotline to report discrimination concerns.
Huffington Post, May 3rd 2011, Corporate Whistleblowers Gain Legal Rights, But Remain a Wasted Asset
Ethics Issue: “An ERC survey found that 96% of corporate whistleblowers first make their disclosures within the company…These employees are a wise executive’s best resource. Whistleblowers can prevent unnecessary tragedies that blindside managers.”
Ethics Answer: Have a Whistleblower Hotline with a clear Non-Retaliation Policy.
New York Times, April 14th 2011, Ethical Businesses With a Better Bottom Line
Ethics Issue: “There is ample research showing that responsible companies are better performers. The San Francisco-based investment firm HIP measures 20 or 30 different indicators that rarely show up in a company’s balance sheet but that HIP contends are leading indicators of higher profits. HIP’s CEO, Paul Herman, said that among the top indicators are customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction and retention, low greenhouse gas emissions per unit of revenue, gender and ethnic diversity among executives and board members, and transparency. HIP took the Standard & Poor’s 100 index and reweighted the companies using measures of social responsibility. The HIP 100 has beaten the Standard & Poor’s 100 by more than 4 percentage points in its first 18 months of existence.”
Ethics Answer: The foundation of a responsible company is a solid ethics program.
Financial Times, March 6th 2011, The case of the white-collar criminal
Ethics Issue: “According to Prof Shreve, law enforcement officials say there are generally three elements present in the majority of cases of white-collar crime: a need, an opportunity and a rationale…”
Ethics Answer: A comprehensive ethics program seeks to address the root causes of white-collar crime.
Wall Street Journal, February 3rd 2011, Harvard Changes Course
Ethics Issue: “Harvard Business School…said it would significantly revamp its M.B.A. program, adding new required courses with an increased focus on ethics and teamwork.” More here.
Ethics Answer: Tomorrow’s business leaders seek business ethics today.
FCIC, January 27th 2011, Conclusions of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission
Ethics Issue: “The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission has been called upon to examine the financial and economic crisis that has gripped our country and explain its causes to the American people…We conclude this financial crisis was avoidable…We conclude there was a systemic breakdown in accountability and ethics.”
Ethics Answer: Promoting ethics is key to the economic well-being of a nation.
The Atlantic, January 3rd 2011, Do Economists Need a Code of Ethics?
Ethics Issue: “The American Economic Association will soon propose enhanced ethical standards for academic economists. Currently, they are not always required to explicitly state all sources of income and funding that could cause bias to creep into their work…Indeed, in other disciplines, such codes of ethics are common.”
New York Times, December 8th 2010, Europe Suggests Jail Time for Insider Trading
Ethics Issue: The EU focuses on insider trading to bolster market confidence. Enforcement by all bloc member states is important.
Insider trading also makes headlines in the US. (More on insider trading from the SEC here.)
Ethics Answer: An Ethics Program – equally applicable to all employees – combats insider trading and other unethical and illegal conduct.
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, November 3rd 2010, SEC Proposes New Whistleblower Program Under Dodd-Frank Act
Ethics Issue: “Dodd-Frank (Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act) substantially expands the agency’s authority to compensate individuals who provide the SEC with information about violations of the federal securities laws. Prior to Dodd-Frank, the agency’s bounty program was limited to insider trading cases…” More on the SEC’s whistleblower program here.
Dodd-Frank directs a similar whistleblower program with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Qui Tam whistleblower programs have existed for fraud in government contracts (False Claims Act) and more recently for tax fraud.
Ethics Answer: A confidential Employee Hotline deters and helps early detection of fraudulent activity.
GOOD, October 21st 2010, Places We Want to Work
Ethics Issue: This quarter’s issue of GOOD is about work. This post looks at the all-important question, how can you create a place people want to work?
Ethics Answer: An ethical place is a defining trait of a place that, “if we worked there, would have us excited to get out of bed each morning.” Here’s from the list: it cares as much about people and the planet as it does about profit; it values transparency; it loves its employees; it plays well with others. Ethically Managed helps you create a place people want to work.
The change we seek blog notes that 6 out of the 30 companies listed are B-corps!
Wall Street Journal, August 14th 2010, How Power Affects Us
Ethics Issue: “There is no easy cure for the paradox of power. Mr. Keltner argues that the best treatment is transparency, and that the worst abuses of power can be prevented when people know they’re being monitored. This suggests that the mere existence of a regulatory watchdog or an active board of directors can help discourage people from doing bad things.”
Ethics Answer: An Ethics Hotline serves as a check to power – protecting the organization and helping a Board fulfill its responsibility.
WashingtonPost, July 28th 2010, GE to Settle SEC Charges of Foreign Bribery
Ethics Issue: “Violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act have been an increasing source of cases for the SEC…GE failed to maintain adequate internal controls to detect and prevent illicit payments.” More on FCPA: www.justice.gov/criminal/fraud/fcpa. Also see PBS Frontline/World’s Spotlight on History of the FCPA and International Anti-Bribery Legislation.
Ethics Answer: An Ethics Hotline helps organizations deter and detect bribes and other illegal activities. Compliance Week (Internal Audit’s Role in Preventing FCPA Violations): “U.S. government enforcement officials continue to confirm that they consider the existence of a compliance program [that includes a hotline] as a factor in their determination as to whether to charge the company with a violation.”
TIME, July 21st 2010, New Laws Target Workplace Bullying
Ethics Issue: The EEOC lists various types of discrimination prohibited by law: age, disability, genetic information, national origin, pregnancy, race/color, religion, sex. Adam Cohen reports: “Worker abuse is a widespread problem…but the law generally does not protect against plain old viciousness…That may be about to change. Workers’ rights advocates have been campaigning for years to get states to enact laws against workplace bullying…[And] there seems to be a strong constituency for laws allowing workers to sue over workplace abuse.” More info here: healthyworkplacebill.org.
Ethics Answer: Protect good employees and your organization by instituting an Ethics Hotline that allows employees to raise concerns confidentially.
HuffingtonPost, July 12th 2010, Why Transparency and Privacy Should Go Hand in Hand
Ethics Issue: Don Tapscott, author of MacroWikinomics, explains, “Companies need to do good — act with integrity — not just to secure a healthy business environment, but for their own sustainability and competitive advantage. Firms that exhibit ethical values and transparency have discovered that they can be more competitive and more profitable. Transparency is no longer simply an obligation to report information to an external party like a regulator or an institutional investor; it’s a new competitive force and an essential precondition for building productive relationships with stakeholders.”
Ethics Answer: An ethics program that includes ethics training and an ethics hotline supports both transparency and privacy efforts of organizations.
NPR, June 24th 2010, High Court Sides With Ex-Enron CEO Skilling
Ethics Issue: “The U.S Supreme Court has severely restricted the ability of federal prosecutors to bring corruption cases against public officials and corporate executives. The court unanimously imposed stark limits on the so-called honest services law that for decades has been a key tool in prosecuting corruption cases… The Supreme Court ruled that the definition of honest services in federal law was so broad that, if viewed literally, it would be unconstitutionally vague, providing inadequate notice to citizens about what conduct is legal and what is not… In view of the history of the statute, [Ruth Bader Ginsburg] said, ‘there is no doubt that Congress intended [it] to reach at least bribes and kickbacks.’ To do more, Ginsburg added, without explicit authorization from Congress, would exceed the court’s authority.” Related news: 1, 2.
Ethics Answer: The history of the “honest services fraud statue” shows an ongoing debate on where/how to draw the legal line. Where legal ramifications are unclear, it is all the more important to have an ETHICS PROGRAM that guides ethical behavior.
The New Yorker, June 14th 2010, The Regulation Crisis
Ethics Issue: “The social psychologist Tom Tyler has shown that acceptance of a law’s legitimacy is the key factor in getting people to obey it. So reforming the system isn’t about writing a host of new rules; it’s about elevating the status of regulation and regulators.” This is equally true at the organization level (regulation = your organization’s ethics code).
Ethics Answer: An ethics hotline, ethics training and ethics awareness campaigns bring legitimacy to your ethics code. Contact Ethically Managed for a custom ethics hotline and ethics training solution.
New York Times, May 14th 2010, A Question From Lydia
Ethics Issue: As he had done in The World is Flat, Thomas Friedman makes evident an increasingly interconnected world, here with the example of financial woes that flow from Greece to Wall Street. This also means “Each of our companies now has the power to impact, for good or ill, so many more people’s lives.”
Ethics Answer: In an increasingly interconnected world, business ethics is all the more important. Understanding the impact their organization has, with the help of Ethically Managed, leaders are implementing an ethics program.
TIME, April 17th 2010, How Not to Raise a Bully: The Early Roots of Empathy
TIME, April 16th 2010, College Campus Violence on the Rise
Ethics Issue: Reversing the rising trend of college campus violence and preventing youth suicide.
Ethics Answer: A campus/school ETHICS HOTLINE allows for anonymous reporting by concerned students, parents and faculty. MYECCHO’s ethics hotline also incorporates other hotlines such as a suicide helpline.
Nature, March 25th 2010, How do morals change?
Ethics Issue: “Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1852 novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin helped to end slavery in the United States, and descriptions of animal suffering in Peter Singer’s Animal Liberation (1975) and elsewhere have been powerful catalysts for the animal-rights movement.” Giving this example, Paul Bloom discusses the tie between emotions and reasoning and the advacement of ethics.
Ethics Answer: Ethically Managed offers ETHICS TRAINING that helps develop ethical attitudes and make ethical decisions in your organization’s industry-specific setting.
Inc., February 24th 2010, How to Write a Code of Ethics for Business
Ethics Issue: “A code of ethics can help a business determine its priorities and values. It can also help you down the line if one of your employees or vendors drags you into legal trouble…The reality these days is that the business that does not have a code of ethics subjects itself to a much greater risk in its day-to-day operations…”
Ethics Answer: Ethically Managed’s ethicists deal with ETHICS CODE development and help build your organization’s supporting components such as ethics training and an ethics hotline.
NewsWeek, January 29th 2010, A Hippocratic Oath for Davos Man
Ethics Issue: Rana Foroohar suggests that the world economic forum in Davos is “a place you go to put a finger to the wind” – it “reflect[s] the mood of the year to come and to shape how people think about the issues.” So what consensus is there about the future? “There are other nascent signs that the world’s captains of industry are finally beginning to think differently about themselves and their work…a number of young financiers in Davos started talking about creating a financial Hippocratic oath (‘first, do no harm with CDOs’).” Robert Shiller, a behavioral economist, says “people are beginning to think about economic issues within a MORAL framework.”
Ethics Answer: Organizations, small and large, are taking sail in the moral wind. With the help of Ethically Managed, they are establishing their own Hippocratic oath (an ETHICS CODE), conducting ethics training, and implementing an ethics hotline.
The Economist, December 17th 2009, The idea of progress: onwards and upwards
Ethics Issue: “The idea of progress forms the backdrop to a society.
The idea of progress has a long history, but it started to flower in the 17th century…The many manifestations of humanity would be the engines of progress: language, community, science, commerce, moral sensibility and government. Unfortunately, many of those engines have failed.”
“The modern age has belonged to material progress and its predominant source has been science…[but] from the perspective of human progress, science needs to be hitched to ‘moral progress’…
It is a similar story with economic growth, the other source of material progress.”
“…The last pair of engines of progress: moral sensibility in its widest sense, and the institutions that make up what today is known as ‘governance’. These broadly liberal forces offer hope for a better future.”
Susan Neiman, an American philosopher, writes, “moral progress is neither guaranteed nor is it hopeless. Instead, it is up to us.”
Ethics Answer: Progress is invariably linked with moral sensibility. And as explained in the article, it is “up to us” to foster morality. See your organization progress by instituting an ETHICS PROGRAM.
White House, December 10th 2009, Remarks by the President at the Acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize
Ethics Issue: “Agreements among nations. Strong institutions. Support for human rights. Investments in development. All these are vital ingredients in bringing about the evolution that President Kennedy spoke about. And yet, I do not believe that we will have the will, the determination, the staying power, to complete this work without something more — and that’s the continued expansion of our MORAL imagination…”
Ethics Answer: Taking from the credo “think globally, act locally,” an “expansion of our moral imagination” must start at the local level. Local governments everywhere are instituting an ETHICS PROGRAM so that government officials and employees have a moral foundation. Ethically Managed provides ethics training and has an affordable ethics hotline solution for local governments.
BusinessWeek, November 16th 2009, Change Big Business From the Inside
Ethics Issue: “The market requires another infusion of capital: not tax dollars, but human capital…We need CFOs who know that ‘fiduciary duty’ is not obsession with quarterly results at the expense of all else, such as honesty (Enron), but stewardship of long-term performance—which demands attention to ethics and the environment…”
Ethics Answer: An ETHICS PROGRAM infuses ethics into your organization, ensuring real long-term viability.
Ethics Issue: Regulations promulgated by the EPA, OSHA and other agencies help protect the environment, health and safety of local and global communities. Employees and other stakeholders are directly effected by the regulations – hence a means for individuals to raise concerns is critical.
Ethics Answer: Address environmental, health and safety concerns and protect your organization against costly regs violations with an anonymous hotline and case management system. Visit www.myeccho.org.
TIME, September 21st 2009, The Responsibility Revolution: Why the rise of ethical consumerism is profitable for everyone
Ethics Issue: “Companies began to realize that…[consumers] would purchase products in part because their manufacturers were responsible.” “In other words, good stewardship is good business.”
Ethics Answer: An ETHICS PROGRAM not only enriches your organization’s culture, it’s good for business too.
Definitions from the Article:
Socical entrepreneur = Someone who is trying to tackle neglect, marginalization or other ong-standing social problems in an effort to create lasting change
Greenwasing = Paying lip service to environmental issues without making substantive changes
B Corporation = A company that uses business to create public benefit. Better World Books is one of some 220 certified B Corps; combined, their sales top $1 billion
Sustainable = Capable of continuing a business’s growth with minimal effect on future generations
Triple bottom line = Voluntary reporting some companies use to measure their ecological and social impact alongside their financial performance
Corporate social responsibility = A commitment to factor in social, environmental and ethical considerations when deciding how to do business
Readers Digest, June 2009, Corporate secrets and company staplers
Ethics Issue: “A recent study found that 59 percent of laid-off workers take something of value with them when they leave – whether it’s a box of pens or a company’s blueprint for world domination. Among those who stay employed, BusinessWeek reports, insider fraud eats up 7 percent of revenues on average.”
Ethics Answer: An ETHICS HOTLINE prevents loss due to fraud.
The New Yorker, June 1st 2009, The Cost Conundrum: What a Texas town can teach us about health care
Ethics Issue: In the debate over health care reform, an often overlooked element is the issue of ethics.
Ethics Answer: PROMOTING ETHICAL PRACTICE is key to health care reform.
The Economist, May 23rd-29th 2009, Buying farmland abroad: Outsourcing’s third wave
Ethics Issue: Rich food importers are acquring vast tracts of poor countries’ farmland. Is this beneficial foreign investment or neocolonialism?
Ethics Answer: To create ‘a win-win’ situation, foreign investors as well as their local partners should establish an ETHICS CODE, centered around helping locals.
Excerpts from the Article:
Saudi investors are spending $100m to raise wheat, barley and rice on land leased to them by the government of Ethiopia. (Meanwhile the World Food Program is spending almost the same amount providing food aid between 2007 to 2011 to Ethiopians.)
[This is just one of many examples – and a contentious trend:] instead of buying food on world markets, governments and politically influential companies buy or lease farmland abroad, grow the crops there and ship them back.
Supporters of such deals argue they prvoide new seeds, techniques and money for agriculture, the basis of poor countries’ economies, which has sufered from disastrous underinvestment for decades.
Opponents call the projects ‘land grabs’, claim the farms will be insulated from host countries and argue that poor farmers will be pushed off land they have farmed for generations.
Joachim von Braun, the head of IFPRI, argues that the best way to resolve the conflicts and create ‘a win-win’ is for foreign investors to sign a code of conduct to improve the terms of the deals for locals.
Various international bodies have been working on their versions of such a code, including the African Union, which is due to ratify one at a summit in July.