Building Resilience: The Evolving Role of Corporate Governance was the fourth installment of the five-part webinar series “Paving the Way for Responsible Conduct in the Decade of Action” conducted by Global Compact Network Canada (GCNC).
Daria Naglic, GCNC’s Senior Manager, Programs and Business Relations, moderated the session and indicated that the discussion would focus on how businesses are actively working against corruption and strengthening their corporate governance frameworks to ensure transparency and to bring about positive systemic change. The discussion panel featured Patricia Alleyn, Head of Integrity Program at SNC-Lavalin; Neelam Sandhu, Senior Vice President and Chief Elite Customer Success Officer at Blackberry; and Marian Van Hoek, General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer at BASF Canada.
Marian Van Hoek initiated the conversation by highlighting key anti-corruption measures of BASF Canada, a German-based chemical company operating in several sectors and industries worldwide, including the Business Partner Due Diligence Program, a value-based code of conduct inspired in the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact, and a compliance hotline. She pointed out that anti-corruption measures are a significant tool to build reputational capital and help maintain a strong business model which is imperative for the long-term sustainability of a company. She emphasized how integrity in procurement is crucial and that supplier selection should go beyond the economic aspect to include human rights, environmental and labour rights compliance. She underlined that ethical business is good business and that it’s time for companies to be vocal and implement sound processes to fight corruption.
Patricia Alleyn explained that SNC-Lavalin decided to learn from their corruption scandal and focus on the positive opportunity to re-prioritize building a culture of integrity. She emphasized the importance of governance frameworks, documents that are comprehensible for all employees and external parties, and policies with rules following a top-down approach. Some anti-corruption measures implemented by SNC-Lavalin involve having a strong training program on corporate anti-corruption policy, integrity checks on clients or business partners, and including integrity as part of the performance management bonus scheme. Creating local integrity networks in the places where they operate and liaising with other companies to share best practices are other strong initiatives the company carries out.
Neelam Sandhu explained how for Blackberry, a software cybersecurity provider, anti-corruption is critical to ensuring a client’s trust. Specifically, robust and transparent anti-corruption policies and auditing are key to business success. Blackberry not only has a business code of conduct, but through policy and quality checks, they ensure that suppliers adhere to the highest standards of their supplier code of conduct, guaranteeing ethics and security in their supply chain.
The session closed with all panelists agreeing that businesses are becoming more aware that topics such as human rights, labour standards, and anti-corruption are interconnected and, as such, are now taking a more holistic approach to meeting the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact. Business leaders are also becoming more vocal about these topics, contributing to a widespread recognition that ethical business is good business.
GCNC will be holding the last session of the webinar series, “Canada and Beyond: A Principles-Based Approach to Building Back Better Webinar“, of this five-part webinar series, on August 12th from 1 pm – 2 pm EDT. Register here.