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How ethical is your company?

How ethical is your company?

The risk of corruption is a major challenge for international groups with regard to the legal, financial and reputational impact it may cause. Corporate stakeholders and society as a whole are putting increasing pressure on business leaders to adopt and deploy effective policies in the fight against corruption. This not only requires companies to publicly communicate their anti-corruption programs, but also provide guarantees for their effective implementation.

Increasingly, however, there are some important distinctions on how a company communicates its anti-corruption policy. The issue of informal broad line principle statements by a company can sometimes lead to confusion and misinterpretation. Whereas the more formal approach of third-party certification offers a transparent process that management and employees can use to validate decisions and remove uncertainty when dealing with subcontractors.

This more formal approach also acts to ensure standard target objectives for anti-corruption policies are met, as well as raising ethical standards overall so as to meet certification requirements. It also provides a useful tool to highlight areas of improvement and reinforce existing compliance programmes to cope with changes to the economic landscape and evolving business strategies.

This is crucial for international companies as having a certified framework for anti-corruption compliance offers a recognised way to ensure that processes put in place meet standards that are internationally recognised. This in turn provides a useful framework for meeting local legal requirements, as well as setting down formal standards for the quality and integrity of international subcontractors employed.

Nor should companies underestimate the intangible benefits of adopting a third-party anti-corruption compliance certification programme. Not only does it build up an environment of trust by sending out a clear signal to customers, investors and stakeholders that you are committed to ethical practices, but it helps to protect a company’s brand and reputation as well as giving a competitive advantage over businesses that do not have robust anti-corruption programmes in place.

There is little doubt that conducting business in an ethical and sustainable way is now seen as a good business strategy. But adopting measures to monitor the effectiveness of programmes put in place is now an equally important consideration for companies.

How we play our part – France initiative

Over the last two years Mazars has been actively involved in an important anti-corruption working group organized under the auspices of the G20 and in collaboration with the OECD. We have established some 200 key points to be checked to ensure that corporate corruption prevention systems are both transparent and effective. In 2013 we hosted our first roundtable about “Anti-corruption: transparency and compliance” together with Safran, the first CAC40 listed company to receive anti-corruption certification.

Mazars also began working in partnership with strategic analysis group, ADIT, to develop certification for corporate anti-corruption compliance programs. This certification is validated and recognized by the authorities and international and independent experts. Recently Mazars and Adit certified CGG, a fully integrated Geoscience company providing leading geological, geophysical and reservoir capabilities to its broad base of customers primarily from the global oil and gas industry.

Commenting on achieving certification in an interview in Les Echos, Jean-Georges Malcor, CEO of CGG said: “Having your internal anti-corruption system certified by an independent third-party is a good signal to our customers and shareholders.” (22nd of September 2014)

Further reading on this topic:
UN international anti-corruption day
Building a house of integrity

Thibaut Bataille. Global Marketing Director. Mazars Group

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