Codes of Conduct
Peter F Smith comments: “This article highlights that there is an increasing demand for a global culture of personal and corporate responsibility. However, many organisations realise that the move towards increased transparency and auditability need not be the huge upheaval that many “specialist advisors” would have them believe.
We have found that what is often lacking within these organisations is simply the development of a clear integrated framework( using current management systems) for financial, environmental, and social issues coupled with clear articulation of process improvement across the company. That was why we developed The Evaluator for it addresses the ...view middle of the document...
But what does it take to successfully implement a code of conduct?
The Accountability and Reporting project examines this in Codes of conduct: a decision-making guide. The paper sheds light on the world of codes of Codes of conduct conduct for companies. In addition to defining concepts, benefits and risks, it also highlights examples of WBCSD members in their journey toward implementing codes within their organizations.
Where's the value?
Although codes have spurred further business action on the social and environmental fronts, identifying the economic benefits of conducting business in an ethical manner is a challenging task. "Developing and implementing a code of conduct is a costly endeavour and will rarely show immediate results in any standard accounting measurement," says Flaherty. "Over the long-term, however, there are benefits for companies, especially if the code is anchored within a strategic framework linked to business objectives."
For instance, codes can strengthen legal compliance, promote self-regulation, attract insurers and investors, enhance corporate reputation and brand image and increase employee morale and productivity. Over time, these intangibles often become embedded in the fabric of a company's performance measures. According to Flaherty, at least 95 per cent of Fortune 500 companies already have their own internal code of conduct.
Implementing a code of conduct
It is critical to engage the right people in the development process from the start. Broad organizational representation and collective input are paramount for effective implementation once the code is formulated.
External input can also add value at all stages of development, implementation, monitoring and verification. During the implementation stage, it is critical to find innovative ways to disseminate the code's contents. Those affected by the code must be very clear about what is expected of them. In addition to making the code widely available and
accessible, education and training efforts can strengthen acceptance and compliance.
Whether or not a code of conduct exists within the company, it is worth signing on to an external code from an industry association or external organization such as an NGO or government. It is clear that codes relating to environment, sustainable development and CSR are attractive to companies because they help establish credibility beyond simply claiming that the company is in compliance with laws and regulations. Yet, before signing on to any external guidelines, it makes sense for a company to have its own house in order.
Once again, communication and training are important during the implementation...