Last week I had the opportunity to spend a day with one of our newer clients, learning about their Compliance and Ethics program, goals for next year and overall philosophy on fostering a culture based on ethical decision making and caring for their customers. One of our topics for discussion was quantifying the return on their ethics and compliance programs, which is often a difficult number to ascertain. While it's somewhat straight forward to calculate time savings in various stages of the various business processes that are part of your GRC programs, it becomes more difficult to calculate the full impact. For instance, how do put a number on not being fined for FCPA violations, or not having a class-action lawsuit filed against you for bad labor practices, or increased sales from consumers who trust your business more than your competitors? It was a lively discussion, and one that I hope to have more often in 2010 as I visit more of our customers.
I was reminded of the conversation when I saw Ethisphere's 2009’s 100 Most Influential People in Business Ethics list last week. The list is comprised of people in eight different categories spanning government, non-profits, education and corporations. When you look at the names of the companies represented by these individuals and consider their market success, you can begin to get a good idea that while it may be difficult to exactly quantify the ROI of a culture of integrity, there clearly is a strong correlation between culture and business success.
I was especially pleased to see a number of EthicsPoint's customers represented on the list, and would like to congratulate the following people for their outstanding efforts and accomplishments in the field of business ethics over the past year:
- Peter Solmssen – General Counsel, Siemens
- Sharon Allen – Chairman, Deloitte
- Bill Gates – Founder, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
- Kathleen Edmond – Chief Ethics Officer, Best Buy
- Brian Martin– SVP and General Counsel, KLA-Tencor
- Pascal Bourdin – SVP, and GM of European Chocolate Business, Kraft