|Thursday, 19 July 2012, 15:00 HKT|
Source: marcus evans Summits
|Joost Wiebenga, Deputy GC & Chief Compliance Counsel EMEA, Tyco International and Member of the Board of Transparency International in the Netherlands, a speaker at the marcus evans European Corporate Counsel Summit 2012, on the anti-corruption legislation and the impact of a corporate proactive culture.|
London, July 19, 2012 - (ACN Newswire) - Companies that strive for transparent business show commitment to their stakeholders, act responsibly and sustain a non-corrupt conduct, says Joost Wiebenga, Deputy GC & Chief Compliance Counsel EMEA, Tyco International and Member of the Board of Transparency International in the Netherlands. Compliance to anti-corruption legislation always pays off, he adds, and the carrot is always better than the stick.
A speaker at the marcus evans European Corporate Counsel Summit 2012 in Noordwijk aan Zee, The Netherlands, 7 - 9 October, Wiebenga shares his views on how a strict corporate compliance system can build strong business ethics as a solid platform for strong business results.
- What are the current trends in global enforcement of anti-corruption legislation?
Traditionally the US has been very aggressive when it comes to the enforcement of anti-corruption legislation, and its government authorities ensure that drastic actions are taken against violating companies.
Now with the implementation of the new UK bribery act, companies that reached a "pattaggiamento" (plea bargain) resulting from Law 231 enforcement in Italy and high profile cases of the German prosecution against Siemens and MAN, Europe increasingly shares in this aggressive enforcement. All OECD member countries have enacted legislation against bribery, actual procedures are monitored and peer pressure is put on countries that are not very active in enforcement. NGOs such as Transparency International are currently focusing on getting all countries aligned on the right path. They promote sound and compliant business as a competitive differentiator because it sustainably pays off to the benefit of the company and all its stakeholders.
- How can the legal department help the company build influence and credibility?
Prevention is better than cure. Most companies with stringent compliance polices are those that have been fined and penalised, and Tyco is no exception. The legal department can be instrumental in promoting and enhancing a proactive approach on the issue of compliance and companies that realise this by adopting ethical procedures and fighting against corruption will be ahead of their ignoring competitors. The legal department should make sure the board and the supervisory board are aware of the legislation. They should particularly highlight the exterritorial effects and the risks of illegal behaviour. Tone at the top is where a culture of integrity starts; tone in the middle is where it is executed. Middle managers, the recipients of almost 70 per cent of misconduct information and reporting, must "walk the walk" on the company's commitment.
Engaging in unethical procedures can lead to criminal behaviour, and ultimately result in fines, imprisonment, disgorgement of profits, loss of business and will seriously affect a corporation's reputation, credibility and market value.
Implementing the right corporate culture is essential to building influence. This cannot be done by just introducing written policies and procedures. Hard controls are necessary but always in conjunction with social controls. This can be reached by using continuous and proactive training (live and in-line) and through regular reflection workgroups where employees and their supervisor go through cases and talk openly about the issues and dilemmas in different structures.
The freedom to speak up against wrongdoing should be promoted and employees speaking up should be protected against retaliation.
- What are the potential issues that may arise from the supply chain?
Besides the market itself, the types of relationships are very important, for example, ensuring close scrutiny of business partners. Companies should be alert when operating in markets where the customers/end-users are government owned or controlled, to ensure money does not end up (directly or indirectly) in the wrong hands of corrupt civil servants.
The new UK Bribery Act 2010, amongst other initiatives, will force companies and their executives to re-evaluate their approach to market, considering the quickly developing reasonable expectation and corporate liability standards. Keeping an eye on intermediaries is no longer the prerogative of the US under the FCPA, but European legislators and enforcement authorities are more and more looking into both public and private commercial bribery as well, something that the EU is increasingly proactive in.
- How can lawyers become more proactive?
The added value of lawyers can be seen in their capability to assist in proactive work, such as training, creation of policies, due diligence, correct documentation and audit trails to minimise the compliance risks. In addition, collective action and integrity pacts among suppliers in various sectors (the supply-side), can help abolish unethical practices from 3rd parties and customers (the demand-side) and such initiatives are becoming essential to create a level playing field. These practices are promoted and facilitated by organisations as Transparency International, the World Economic Forum's Partnering against Corruption Initiative and the United Nations. The next challenge is to convince and include the suppliers and governments from emerging countries such as Brazil, China, India and Russia to embrace these global initiatives as well. With adequate procedures in place the cost of investigations and the risk of prosecution go drastically down. By walking the talk companies can potentially enjoy better financial performances and higher customer satisfaction. Siemens is performing better than ever after a total clean-up and turnaround following its corruption scandal in the previous decade.
About the European Corporate Counsel Summit 2012
This unique forum will take place at the Grand Hotel Huis ter Duin, Noordwijk aan Zee, The Netherlands, 7 - 9 October 2012. Offering much more than any conference, exhibition or trade show, this exclusive meeting will bring together esteemed industry thought leaders and solution providers to a highly focused and interactive networking event. The Summit includes presentations on managing global legal risks, legal sourcing options to control costs and deliver excellence, building influence and credibility for the legal team, monetising the patent portfolio and promoting the flow and sharing of legal knowledge across the organisation. For more information please send an email to email@example.com or visit the event website at www.eccsummit.com/JoostWiebengaInterview.
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About marcus evans Summits
marcus evans Summits are high level business forums for the world's leading decision-makers to meet, learn and discuss strategies and solutions. Held at exclusive locations around the world, these events provide attendees with a unique opportunity to individually tailor their schedules of keynote presentations, think tanks, seminars and one-on-one business meetings. For more information, please visit www.marcusevans.com.
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Journalist, marcus evans, Summits Division
Tel: +357 22 849 400
July 19, 2012
Source: marcus evans Summits
Topic: Research / Industry Report
Sectors: Financial General, Business General
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