Global multinationals reaffirm their commitment to making a difference with practical tools, data, and resources to guide their strategic and tactical direction
New York, NY – November 10, 2020 – The Ethisphere Institute, a global leader in defining and advancing standards of ethical business practices, announced today that a growing quorum of multinational companies from the Business Ethics Leadership Alliance (BELA), a globally recognized organization, are stepping up to reaffirm their commitment to advancing and preserving integrity around the globe.
The global pandemic, compounded by macro-level conditions such as racial injustice, geopolitical gaps, and economic instability, has created new fissures in all corners of the globe. As the threat of COVID-19 continues to demand work from home environments and urgent changes to business strategy, companies are creating opportunities to connect and support one another to develop new practices that reshape conventional wisdom.
The “Pinnacle” members of the BELA community in many ways have taken the lead to ensure that business, compliance, and ethics leaders in pivotal global markets can sustain a level of knowledge-sharing and benchmarking—which have faced many obstacles in 2020. Undeterred, the companies have discovered and shared their innovations with hundreds of organizations worldwide with access to unparalleled Ethisphere data, ethical culture assessments, public advocacy, and consistent peer-to-peer conversations. Under the leadership of the Pinnacle members, BELA has worked across the Americas, South Asia, Asia Pacific, and Europe to create an ecosystem conducive to coming out of the pandemic better than before.
Those companies representing Pinnacle BELA members include:
- Bayer AG
- Western Digital Corporation
Under the direction of the Pinnacle member companies, BELA has established new hallmarks for its community, most recently with the formation of an Advisory Council that is overseeing an initiative on Equity & Social Justice. This initiative will include frank conversations with leaders and new research through which important issues such as pay equity, diversity transparency, measurable data, community impact, and more that will inspire companies to mobilize and take firm action with a clear purpose.
“BELA has long been at the center for any new working group, event, or resource we develop at Ethisphere. What the Pinnacle companies have enabled us to do is hone in on the need to expand the focus of integrity and business performance into additional markets where companies have just as much need, if not more, than their US-based counterparts,” said Kevin McCormack, Executive Director, BELA. “The leadership from our Pinnacle members—and across our entire BELA community, for that matter—has actually proven to be one of elevated engagement precisely at those moments when you anticipated everyone would disengage in a historically troubling environment. These companies have demonstrated in so many ways how to respond to a crisis by not putting integrity ‘on pause.’ Rather, they have invested in how each can adapt and transform so they are better equipped for the future and doing so in a way that their people do not lose their humanity along the way, which is empowering their people and the communities in which they work.”
Kimberly-Clark, a global manufacturer with well-known brands such as Huggies, Cottonelle, Scott, Kotex, Depend, Kleenex, and Andrex, prides itself on its upstander – as opposed to a bystander – culture that encourages the company’s 40,000 employees to take a stand when they encounter improper behavior.
“Everything we do at Kimberly-Clark is motivated by our vision to lead the world in essentials for a better life, and this starts with our people. We continue to foster a culture of care where each of our employees is empowered to use their voice to bring issues to light and create change,” said Kurt Drake, Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer at Kimberly-Clark. “This culture is underpinned by our belief that maintaining high levels of ethics, business integrity, and compliance is the only way we can grow our business and deliver essential products to our consumers around the globe.”
In the spirit of collaboration and to help empower the broader business community, Pinnacle members also serve on a series of executive BELA committees and year-round global working groups for the South Asia and Asia Pacific Chapters of BELA. Projects and pan-industry insights in these regions are driven by these multinational companies and are topically aligned to focus on key risk areas such as inclusion, cybersecurity, data privacy, supplier integrity, conflicts of interest, harassment, and more.
Driven by a global desire to advance the integrity and improve business performance, in 2017 BELA expanded to South Asia. The South Asia Chapter includes a community of select Founding Member companies and “integrity partners” who continue to make an impact through developing practical resources, tools, and guidance to empower the broader business community across India and South Asia. Applying a similar model, to date, BELA’s new global chapter expansion has reached the Americas, Europe, and most recently Asia Pacific.
“As the second-most populous country in the world and one of the fastest-growing economies, India has an incredible influence on the global business ecosystem. Considering this, at Honeywell India, we value the Pinnacle membership with BELA that helps us share best practices and benchmark the program with our peers,” said Piya Haldar, Director of Integrity and Compliance, Honeywell India. “Our company culture demands a commitment to the highest standards of integrity, and every employee is focused on upholding this, even during these challenging times. At no other time in our history has the need for a united front been more apparent. This is where we all need to come together with BELA and address challenges related to the global pandemic.”
Honeywell and Intel currently serve on a working committee designed to capture data on the impact of remote work on compliance in India—an emerging area of concern with impending legislation set to take shape in 2021. This report is slated for release in January. Preliminary data findings were shared at the recent South Asia Ethics Summit.
“The international community truly understands the value of demonstrating ethics and integrity on a global stage, including the South Asia BELA community, which has expanded significantly in both membership and commitment since its creation only three years ago,” said Aarti Maharaj, Managing Director, South Asia, and Asia Pacific. “If there is a silver lining to the pandemic, which is currently having a significant impact in India and throughout Asia, it is that while the world is socially distancing for health and safety reasons, the business community is coming together for economic security.”
To date, the Founding Members of the BELA South Asia Chapter have developed a series of resources, toolkits, and topically targeted working groups, which cover areas such as Prevention of Sexual Harassment (PoSH), supply chain risk management, and more. Most recently, the chapter released the third annual BELA South Asia magazine, with insights and experiences from a diverse selection of companies across India—some of which have been in business for hundreds of years and remain committed to improving business ethics during times of crisis.
In early 2020, a BELA South Asia working group guided efforts to launch a customizable Supplier Toolkit, which includes sample policies, data, case studies, and thought leadership to equip leaders with the information they need to help rebuild the supply chain. Previously, under the guidance of leaders from Hindustan Coca-Cola, GE, Johnson Controls, Cummins, Infosys, and Accenture, members came together to launch the first-of-its-kind PoSH Best Practices research report, which takes a closer look at communications, training, and retaliation around PoSH compliance. The community also launched the India Business Case Deck that highlights the importance of embracing ethics and good governance as a competitive business advantage.
Founded by the Ethisphere Institute, the Business Ethics Leadership Alliance (BELA) is a globally recognized organization of leading companies collaborating together to share best practices in governance, risk management, compliance, and ethics. BELA’s membership has since grown to a large community of companies who recognize the inherent value of promoting ethical leadership and world-class compliance culture. Learn more about BELA by visiting http://bela.ethisphere.com. To nominate a company to join BELA, contact Director of Member Engagement Sarah Neumann at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Ethisphere® Institute is the global leader in defining and advancing the standards of ethical business practices that fuel corporate character, marketplace trust, and business success. Ethisphere has deep expertise in measuring and defining core ethics standards using data-driven insights that help companies enhance corporate character. Ethisphere honors superior achievement through its World’s Most Ethical Companies® recognition program, provides a community of industry experts with the Business Ethics Leadership Alliance (BELA), and showcases trends and best practices in ethics with Ethisphere Magazine. Ethisphere also helps to advance business performance through data-driven assessments, benchmarking, and guidance. More information about Ethisphere can be found at https://ethisphere.com.