5 key panels (and Takeaways) from the SCCE 12th Annual European Compliance & Ethics Institute

The SCCE 12th Annual European Compliance & Ethics Institute (ECEI) recently concluded in Amsterdam, with thanks to Adam Turteltaub and Gerry Zack and the entire SCCE team for organizing and hosting such a thoughtful and interactive conference. Among all the panels offered over the three-day event, five in particular stood out, leaving attendees with insights and strategies to navigate the evolving landscape of ethics and compliance.

These panels addressed diverse topics such as risk mitigation, AI opportunities, and innovative training methodologies, amongst others. Here are a few highlights and takeaways: 

New Challenges and Opportunities for Compliance & Ethics Professionals, as moderated by Susan DuBecker and panelists Isabel Barberá, John Bowman, and Kurt Michaels.

This was a great start to the ECEI, with Susan DeBecker moderating an engaging session,  sharing and exchanging perspectives on a number of issues, including the use of AI.

All panelists agreed on the importance of executive awareness, accountability, and governance regarding AI tools. Key discussion points included:  

  • Emphasis on human oversight of technology and the need for ethics and compliance experts with AI experience.
  • Understanding how data tools and verifying data validity is essential for the use of technology as part of an ethics and compliance program.
  • The importance of developing a data toolset that incorporates relevant regulatory guidelines and conducting a gap analysis of what tools are required to address those gaps.
  • How any gap analysis should have cross-functional team participation along with clear rules and understanding for how data tools can be used and by whom, to establish robust quality controls around data.

Reading "La Piege American" ("American Trap"): The Context Before and After, as moderated by Daniel Wendt and with panelists Jan Knop and Virginie Liautaud. 

A fascinating panel, where Daniel and the panelists took us for a journey down ‘memory lane’ in terms of anti-bribery laws and enforcement. And during the panel they described:

  • What the enforcement environment was like during the timeline of FCPA enforcement from a business perspective, in terms of sensitivity and awareness. Next, they walked through some major cases, including the iconic Siemens case, but also others such as the Alstom case, which led to the Frédéric Pierucci prosecution and the book “The American Trap.”
  • How the Alstom case had an impact on French enforcement and the French Sapin II law.
  • The civil and criminal fines on a number of enforcement actions which they compared,  making a compelling case for cooperation and mitigation with respect to anti-corruption violations.
  • “Where are they now” with respect to all of the Alstom co-conspirators (one of whom lives close to one of the panelists.)  

What Happens When The Gray Zone Meets the Behavioral Code?, as moderated by LRN consultant Richard Bistrong in conversation with author Anna Romberg and Benjamin van Rooij. 

This conversation with both authors featured the sharing and exchanging of perspectives on research by Professor van Rooij, and how behavioral research can inform high-performing ethics and compliance programs, with first-hand reflections by Anna Romberg, who is also the Executive Vice President Sustainability, Legal & Compliance at Getinge when she is not writing and running the Nordic Business Ethics Network.

The ‘fireside chat’ offered some actionable items, including:

  • Asking more ‘how’ questions, not just ‘why’ questions, such as “How can you complete a certain program or commercial opportunity in a high-risk region without sacrificing ethics, integrity or taking a short-cut?”
  • How to turn values into structures, and turn structures into practice, action and ethical decision making.
  • Thinking deeper about the relationship between ‘safety and power’ and how we can spark an environment of just not ‘speaking up,’ but 'listening up’ as well, to develop a culture of trust and respect.
  • Shifting the conversation from incentives to the targets themselves, be they financial or even a deadline. Anna and Benjamin shared the importance of considering how your targets will ‘land’ with the workforce, and what the side effects of those targets might be? A good check would be to examine if those side effects align with your values, mission, and purpose.
  • The importance of ‘friction’ in an organization,  and how by bringing in diverse opinions to help address difficult ethical dilemmas, we can avoid ‘groupthink’ and a consensus culture. This also necessitates ‘slow thinking’ and how taking ‘ethical speed bumps’ can lead to more deliberative and ethical decision making.
  • Recommended further reading: The Gray Zone, or The Behavioral Code

Leading Compliance Programs and Protecting Brands: Lessons in Managing and Mitigating Risks of Doing Business Amongst Red Flags with Amy Kovalan, Christine Braamskamp, Sebastian Lochen, and Wade Thomson 

The panel started by challenging everyone to think about how to “contextualize” global values in different cultures and to do so, there needs to be an understanding of business challenges on both local and regional levels. Key considerations offered by the panelists included: 

  • How a five-year program review can be instrumental in making certain that an organization is not only addressing stubborn challenges, but emerging ones as well.
  • The importance of achievable targets and having ethics and compliance as part of a compensation matrix.
  • Looking at your investigations to find ‘hot-spots’ where additional training, learning and education resources might be required.
  • The need for due diligence ahead of opportunities and to provide the business with a clear view of risks (and potential costs) before any commercial commitments are finalized.
  • How third party audits are a critical part of contract agreements, but you need to exercise those rights and to prioritize them based on risk-profile.
  • The importance of messaging to the business is that when it comes to red-flags and risk, ethics and compliance teams are there to help commercial colleagues to  “have a balanced mindset between opportunity and risk” and how ethics and compliance managers are there “to support you.”

Shadowy Hackers, a Gaming Convention and Netflix…How META Got Engineers Excited about Compliance Training…and How You Can Too, as moderated by LRN Chief Advisory Officer Ty Francis and with panelists Guillem Casoliva Cabana, Helen Kadjar, and Samer Jannoun. 

The panel started with Samer providing a ‘tease’ on what META is doing with bespoke training. And, as he shared, the goal of the entire program is to inspire “employees to want to take the training.” 

Additional panel perspectives included:

  • How middle level managers are instrumental to work with the wider workforce in engaging with people and teams who are not taking the training,  as to encourage them to do so. Middle level managers are also instrumental in empowering and elevating an ethics and compliance culture.
  • How training needs to be targeted to employee profiles and how scenario based training can ‘spark’ a training environment that is both relatable and engaging. The panelists also agreed that scenarios based on real-stories from internal investigations add an additional layer of relatability as employees appreciate that “this can happen here.” 

Samer added a little ‘spice’ to the session by sharing how META includes employees as extras in some of the modules, which leads to great interest, fun, and engagement. He even talked about how there is not only ‘buzz’ around the training, but a bit of ‘FOMO’ for those who have not yet viewed the modules. 

As the entire panel agreed upon, while resources might be ‘finite’ and even constrained, “innovation and creativity are free.” 

A few other panels that sparked interest were Incentives: Don't Do It Like Grandpa with Ian Moolman and Paul Zietsman, as well as Interactive Policies: Using Technology to Enhance Decision-Making with Jannica Houben and Travis Waugh. And there was the much talked about Does the Current Ethics Training Level Up the Integrity of the Organization? with Silvia Vig. 

Congratulations to all the panelists, presenters, and, again, to the SCCE for organizing and hosting such an engaging, lively, and interactive event.