Business world looking for a way out in ethical values

Business world looking for a way out in ethical values

Özlem Demircan Taşören
In a world globalizing and getting smaller with technological developments, the perception of ethical risks and the methods for the management of these risks have been changed. Some people were not able to keep up with the quick effect of developments caused by globalization on countries, regions or even corporations. On the one hand, as efficiency and quality increases in the business world in general, ethical crises occur on the other. 

At the 7th International Ethics Summit organized last month by the Ethics and Reputation Association (TEID) with the theme “After Ebbing,” these global ethical crises and the normalizing process were put under a microscope. Ethics violations in Turkey and in many countries in the world were analyzed with examples. The importance and necessity of adhering to ethics and conformance policies is the cornerstone of a company in today’s business world, and it was discussed how a business world with compliance to all areas may be realized.

The summit was chaired by Monty Raphael QC, an expert on white collar crimes and one of the legal advisors to the Queen of England. Raphael evaluated the ethical crises both for the regulatory laws and institutions and for corporations in the business world. Underlining the fact that ethics and compliance are not the end, but only the beginning, Raphael emphasized that managers and employees are thinking of compliance policies every day and questioning themselves. 

Nikos Passas, a penal justice professor at Northeastern University’s criminology school, gave examples of big corruption and non-ethical cases that occurred in different countries in the world, stating that such events affected the lives of many people and caused a series of significant problems including environmental disasters. Underlining the fact that corporations take many financial and commercial risks every day, he talked about the effect of losing reputation by taking ethical risks over them. According to him, it is necessary to continue the fight against corruption and misconduct. A decisive political authority, regulatory institutions and an independent judiciary are the antidotes against corruption in this fight, according to Passas.

At the summit, Prof. Dr. Sevil Atasoy, a U.N. International Control Board Member and Assistant Rector of Üsküdar University, explained with examples that white collar crimes have two sides: ethical violations for the financial interests of the persons and organized crime acts for corporate interests. 

Another important name hosted in the summit, Mr. Jerusa Burmann Viecili, who is one of the active federal district attorneys of the “Car Wash” case in Brazil, one of the biggest corruption cases in the world. Viecili provided information about the phases of the Car Wash Operation executed against a corruption scandal including the establishment of a cartel by leading construction companies in Brazil paying commission fees to the managers of Petrobras, a petroleum company, in order to win public tenders, and Brazil’s giant oil company’s forwarding such commissions to governing political parties and opposition political parties, even including a former Brazilian president.

Viecili stated that according to estimates of the U.N. and the World Economic Forum, corruptions establish 5 percent of the GDP in the world, and this case is nearly 100 billion dollars for Brazil, adding that it is possible to triple the resources allocated for health or education services by using the loss from corruption, like the subject of the “Car Wash” case in brazil.

Today, the prevention of corruptions and misconducts playing a leading role in the global crisis is essential to help the business world continue its development. In environments where acting in accordance with the laws will not necessarily mean acting ethical, it is of critical importance for the leaders of the business world to agree on and quickly realize new ethical values. Indigenizing ethical values is extremely important for this reason. 

TEID, along with institutions and corporations in the Turkish business world, which are making up 15 percent of the GNP of Turkey and currently employing 200,000 employees, has been organizing the International Ethics Summit for the last seven years within the scope of the events it organized for the adoption and implementation of universal business ethical principles by all parties of the society, and attempts to contribute to the spreading of ethical principles and policies with its publications, training programs and seminars.

*Özlem Demircan Taşören is the Secretary-General of the Ethics and Reputation Association (TEID)