corporate culture

New Compliance Beat: Hot Topics in Compliance & Ethics in Europe

Just a few years ago, Europe was considered behind the United States in compliance and ethics. That is not the case today. Eric looks at three hot topics in compliance and ethics in Europe as he prepares to leave for the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics European Compliance & Ethics Institute in Prague this week.

In some areas, European compliance and ethics standards are exceeding the United States’ standards. In recent years, regulators in Spain, France, and other countries have consistently recognized the importance of compliance and ethics programs. In the context of anti-corruption, the United Kingdom’s Anti-Bribery Act, the Brazilian Clean Companies Act, and other efforts to curb corruption, Europe has leapfrogged the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which used to be the primary legal mechanism internationally for fighting corruption. For instance, the UK Anti-Bribery Act is clearly a newer law than the FCPA and expands coverage. This leads to the questions: Will Europe become the new leader in defining what makes an effective compliance and ethics program?

There are a number of similarities between what is happening in Europe and the United States. Compliance professionals all over the world are focusing on corporate culture, measuring employees through surveys, and addressing issues like retaliation and observed misconduct. The notion that Europe is behind in compliance and ethics is not accurate anymore. We are now on the same page.

As much as we see similarities, there continue to be significant differences, particularly in data security. European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will go into effect in spring of 2018. This year is the last year to come into compliance with the GDRP. Organizations need to look carefully and determine whether they have any exposure under the GDRP because there are no safe harbor provisions.

In our newest episode of Compliance Beat, Eric discusses these three topics. Click here to listen now.

New Report on the Five Levels of an Ethical Culture

Last week, BSR, a global nonprofit organization that works with its network of more than 250 member companies and other partners to build a just and sustainable world, released a new report on The Five Levels of an Ethical Culture: How to Build and Sustain Organizations with Integrity. Happy, motivated, and ethical employees are the foundation of a positive organizational culture. However, creating a strong culture means knowing how to influence effectively complex systems of human interaction. The intersection between our social, legal, and economic systems and behavioral sciences is what makes the study of corporate culture and compliance fascinating.

This working paper breaks down the five levels of an ethical culture at which an organization should build an ethical culture: individual, intrapersonal, group, intergroup, and inter-organizational. It makes the important point that in order to build a strong culture, an organization must focus on building culture. This means making sure that the core organizational values are reflected in interactions and decision-making at every level of the organizations.

It's worth your time to sit down and read this report.