Compliance and Ethics in Review: December 21, 2018

The Latest and Greatest Industry News

Salesforce making sure AI is used for good, companies doing right by America, 2018’s biggest ethical blunders, and more.

Join the Convercent team for a review of the top stories and most newsworthy events in the ethics and compliance industry. The focus is global, but you might be surprised by how relevant these stories are, both across borders and businesses.

Salesforce is hiring its first Chief Ethical and Humane Use officer to make sure its artificial intelligence isn’t used for evil

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been a hot topic in our industry, especially considering the ethical implications behind this powerful new technology. Salesforce has positioned itself ahead of the trend by appointing Paula Goldman to lead its new Office of Ethical and Humane Use. Her office will focus on developing strategies to use technology in an ethical and humane way.

AI is poised to have a massive impact on the way we do our jobs, which leads to an important question: As computers behave more like humans, how will they impact real people?

If you’ve ever wondered about the ethics of AI, add The Future Computed: Artificial Intelligence and its Role in Society to your list of must-watch videos. It will give you a greater understanding about how AI could be applied to your program and organization in the near future.

The Just 100 2019: Companies Doing Right By America

“Which companies are the best at doing right by America?”

Forbes partnered with Just Capital to answer this question. 81,000 Americans were polled about the practices they’d most like to see from the country’s largest corporations. The top seven answers were:

  • Fair pay for workers
  • Treat customers well and protect their privacy
  • Produce quality products
  • Minimize environmental impact
  • Give back to communities they operate in
  • Commit ethical and diverse leadership
  • Create abundant job opportunities

Using these criteria, 890 of the country’s largest publicly-traded companies were assessed. The end result is a list of 100… including a few Convercent customers! The list is a great reminder that ethical behavior in the business world is often rewarded. In this case, the reward is some great PR.

Top ethics and compliance failures of 2018

On the opposite end of the spectrum, this article from Compliance Week focuses on 2018’s top five boondoggles in ethics and compliance. Facebook, Tesla, Nissan, Wells Fargo, and Danske Bank each earned spots on the list.

We can all learn a thing or two from these failures — Facebook highlighted the importance of data security and vetting third parties, Tesla showcased what not to share on social media, and Danske Bank’s scandal emphasizes the importance of having adequate control of compliance across locations and branches.

If reading about these missteps has you thinking, “Hmm, maybe we need to get ahead of issues like these,you’ll love the Convercent Solutions page. From bribery & fraud, to whistleblowing, and everything in between, it’s packed with resources you can use to build a demonstrably effective program.

A huge lawsuit accuses nearly 20 big drug companies, a billionaire, and 2 brothers-in-law of cozying up to hike drug prices. Here’s the inside story.

Attorneys general for 45 states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, filed a large federal antitrust lawsuit against nearly 20 generic-drug makers, alleging they illegally collaborated to increase drug prices. A criminal investigation from the DoJ is also ongoing.

The suit includes details of communications that allegedly took place between employees of companies from Teva, Novartis’ Sandoz, Mylan, and others. Contact is purported to have been frequent and close. As a result, the prices of common drugs doubled, tripled, and even increased by 1,000% or more.

Survey of Global Organizations Finds Senior Executives Lack Confidence in Their Crisis Management Plans

Morrison & Foerster, a leading global law firm, recently partnered with the Ethisphere Institute to launch their first global Crisis Management Benchmarking Report.

The report includes the survey results gathered from nearly 250 senior executives in ethics, compliance, legal, communications, and risk functions. John Carlin, Chair of Morrison & Foerster’s Global Risk and Crisis Management practice group and Co-Head of the National Security practice group, explains that, “Having a well-designed crisis management plan is a critical aspect of being prepared. But too often, as this survey shows, executives lack confidence in their plan and don’t know whether it could be relied upon in an actual crisis. That is why it is so important that organizations practice how they would respond to different scenarios and test whether their plan is workable.”

It’s a fascinating report, and you’ll surely gain some insights to take back to your team. To download the report, visit this link.

Impasse Over Corruption Charges Costs SNC $3.7 Billion, CEO Says

Canada’s SNC-Lavalin Group Inc.’s 2012-era corruption scandal points to the importance of making concerted and proactive efforts to mitigate risk. The firm has been unable to reach a negotiated settlement with the government over past corruption charges, and the financial and reputation damages continue to mount.

By CEO Neil Bruce’s estimates, “We know that we’ve lost out on a number of contracts, probably in excess of C$5 billion, because clients in the end will not take the chance on picking SNC-Lavalin.”

The company has made a number of changes since 2012, including measures to strengthen ethics and compliance. Bruce elaborated on the changes by explaining, “From the period of post-2012, we’re six years past that. The company has self-remediated in so many different ways. We’ve changed the board, we’ve changed the management. All of the alleged bad actors have all left the business.’’