Despite all that happened in 2020, international companies and the WEF remain focused on fighting corruption. A year after the discovery of the COVID-19 virus that changed the world, the challenges to eliminate bribery remain.
Integrity must be embedded at all organizational levels and established as the responsibility of all employees. That was a key takeaway from last month’s Biannual Community Meeting of the World Economic Forum’s Partnering Against Corruption Initiative.
The PACI community joined with experts from civil society and international organizations, and came together to discuss the role of ethical leadership, and the value of the “G” in the environmental, social and governance framework. LRN’s Susan Divers represented LRN which has has been a signatory of this CEO-led platform in the global anti-corruption arena for nearly a decade.
One key refrain from the meeting’s attendees: The use of technology in governance procedures is more critical than ever to fight corruption effectively. Making use of algorithms that are powered by artificial intelligence will allow for the ability to offer immediate insights at each point of the procurement process, for example, allowing teams to assess risks in a more holistic way.
One challenge to using the new technologies available for transparency are regulators, and their differences about how far along they are in their own digital transformations. There was discussion of using the shift to data analytics for risk and compliance management in the same way cybersecurity changed itself from a cost center to a profit center.
Another big takeaway from the meeting: good governance, transparency, and accountability must be at the heart of any effort to create a more equitable, sustainable, and resilient society. That requires partnerships and teamwork, for while organizations must work internally and on their own, the needle moves only when there is coordinated multistakeholder action.
The “G” in the environmental, social and governance equation deserves to be treated with the same sense of urgency and priority as the “E” and “S” elements.
Leaders need to understand compliance topics on a more intimate level for their businesses to be successful, and to embrace the idea the values the business upholds will determine its success, as more and more investors now are examining ESG performance as a prerequisite to engaging with companies.
While codes of conduct, ethics trainings, reporting channels and the like all are important, they represent just the input of the compliance program. To be better, the process requires an examination of the impact and focus on cultural factors, and the use of behavioral science to identify an effective way forward.
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About the Author
Joined LRN in October 2018 after 30 years as a journalist, including seven years at The Wall Street Journal, including Risk & Compliance Journal and was a creator of the WSJ Crisis of the Week column. In 2015 was named one of the 100 most influential people in business ethics by Ethisphere Institute. Spent 14 years as a reporter in Hawaii, 11 with The Associated Press.More Content by Ben DiPietro