A Future-Fit Business actively seeks to anticipate, avoid and address ethical breaches that may arise as a result of its activities.
What this goal means
All Future-Fit goals can, and should, be interpreted as matters of business ethics that apply to any company. This goal, in contrast, focuses on the proactive identification and pre-emptive prevention of any specific issues which could – due to the unique nature of a company’s business – lead to ethical breaches.
The kinds of ethical breach that might occur will vary widely across companies, depending on their size, structure, sector, business model, geographical presence, and so on. A Future-Fit company is not one that is immune to ethical concerns and challenges. Rather, it is one that puts in place effective mechanisms to reduce the likelihood of breaches, to encourage people (employees and third parties) to raise the alarm when one does occur, and to respond effectively to them. Examples of potential issues include:
- Anti-competitive practices (e.g. unfair supplier treatment, price fixing).
- Dis-information (e.g. misrepresenting or failing to disclose information which could influence stakeholder decisions or wellbeing).
- Abuse of trust (e.g. inappropriate use of personal data).
- Wilful ignorance (e.g. neglecting to investigate supply chains in which human rights abuses are suspected).
To be Future-Fit, a company must:
- Identify high-risk areas for ethical issues within the business;
- Adopt a public commitment to ethical conduct; and
- Establish policies and procedures to ensure it lives up to that commitment.
Why this goal is needed...
Bribery remains a commonplace activity in certain parts of the world.
A global survey of 131,000 companies by the World Bank found that more than one in six had received at least one bribe payment request. In some countries more than 50% of companies report being asked for payments or gifts in order to “get things done".
Cases of fraud can hurt both customers and companies themselves.
In 2016, occupational fraud caused $6.3bn of company losses worldwide, with an average loss of $2.7 million per case.