Latest Annual Survey from Nordic Business Ethics Network, in Collaboration with LRN, Highlights the Scale of Opportunity for E&C Programs Across the Region
HELSINKI AND NEW YORK (November 22, 2023) – New research indicates that although companies across the Nordic region have made some progress when it comes to ethics and compliance (E&C) programs, they are still lagging significantly behind their global peers, according to the Nordic Business Ethics Network (NBEN).
The new report—the 2023 Nordic Ethics and Compliance Survey—is based on survey responses from 123 compliance professionals working in Nordic-based organizations across 17 different industries. For the first time, this year’s report was supplemented by LRN Corporation, the leader in ethics and compliance solutions that enable organizations to inspire principled performance, which provided international comparative data and perspective from its global flagship Ethics & Compliance Program Effectiveness Report.
This year’s report found that although most organizations appear to have the critical basic E&C elements in place—such as having a formalized E&C program, conducting risk assessments, and having anonymous whistleblower lines—nearly a third of firms (31%) are not measuring the effectiveness of their program activities.
Among the other key findings from the report include:
- Compared to two years ago, more organizations say they have a dedicated E&C officer (85%) and E&C team sizes have increased.
- E-learning is reported as the most common way (98%) organizations train on their organization’s code of conduct, but just 10% provide tailored in-person E&C training to their entire workforce. This compares with the 35% of global programs which provide personalized learning options (whether in-person, e-learning, or hybrid).
- Half (50%) of chief compliance officers across the region say they report to their board or a board committee with prior materials review by the CEO or General Counsel; only 27% have direct and independent access, compared with 82% of global peer organizations
- Very few (13%) Nordic organizations say that E&C is reflected in their compensation or incentive schemes, putting the region far behind their global peers (around 50% of which say E&C is incorporated into performance management, promotion decisions, and bonus allocations).
“The Nordics is typically perceived as a region comprised of countries with low levels of corruption, and being low-risk in terms of compliance issues,” said Niina Ratsula, co-founder of NEBN. “Despite those perceptions, it is more important now than ever before for organizations to have a well-functioning E&C program in place. We hope that the insights in this report fuels important conversations and reforms to advance responsible business practices in organizations throughout the region.”
“This report provides an important and illuminating review of business ethics practices in the Nordic region, as well as the need to move beyond operational activities to more strategically influence and enable ethical conduct and business practices,” added Emily Miner, Vice President, Advisory Services at LRN Corporation. “The global business environment has never been more complex, and ethics and compliance must have a meaningful seat at the table to help their organizations—both across the Nordic region and around the globe—navigate these dynamics, consistent with purpose and ethical principles.”
About LRN Corporation
LRN's mission and purpose is to inspire principled performance and help people around the world do the right thing. Since 1994, LRN has worked to propel organizations forward with the partnership, knowledge, and tools to build ethical culture. More than 2,800 companies and tens of millions of learners worldwide utilize LRN services and take LRN e-learning courses to help navigate complex regulatory environments and foster ethical, responsible, and inclusive cultures. In partnership with LRN, companies translate their values into concrete corporate practices and leadership behaviors that create sustainable competitive advantage. By acting upon shared values, companies and their people find the means to outbehave and outperform. Learn more at LRN.com and follow on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
About the Nordic Business Ethics Initiative
The Nordic Business Ethics Initiative was established in 2020 to build stronger and more responsible organizations. Its ambition is to promote responsible business conduct and support business leaders and professionals through sharing lessons learned, building best practices and facilitating dialogue and networking. NBE Initiative consists of various activities, such as the Nordic Business Ethics Network, the Ethics Talk LIVE and annual Business Ethics and Compliance related surveys. Its mission is to provide inspiration and insights relating to business ethics and thereby impact and support individuals and organisations. The Nordic Business Ethics Network is open to anyone.