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FEATURE NAME


THE BIGGER PICTURE


WORDS BOB PAPWORTH


FTRADEAIR


Protests in Tunisia against Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman after the death of Jamal Khashoggi


A 32


decade or so ago, carbon emissions and the ozone layer – or lack of it – was top of mind for travel managers. Then the corporate travel sector moved from “planet” to “people”,


and traveller safety, security and satisfac- tion headed the agenda. Now ethics is an emerging trend. In February last year, the New York- based Ethisphere Institute, a “global leader in defining and advancing the standards of ethical business practices”, announced a list of 135 companies spanning 23 countries and 57 industries as the 2018 World’s Most Ethical Companies. Of the 135, only three – “green mobility” software company Aptiv, retailer Marks & Spencer and utility giant National Grid –


were based in the UK. Hilton Worldwide, Marriott International, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts and Radisson Hospitality all made the grade, but airlines were noticeably absent from the hall of ethical fame. The UK has not had a great track record of late. In 2015, the Co-operative Bank overhauled its ethical policy following a series of high-profile scandals. In 2017, the Church of England revamped its investment policies amid concerns about its financial involvement with allegedly less-than-scrupulous mining companies. It gets worse. In October 2018 the alleged murder by a Saudi hit-squad of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi exposed – among other issues – the “West’s” seeming- ly tenuous grasp of business ethics.


THERE IS WIDESPREAD DISPARITY BETWEEN METHODS USED TO FIGHT CORRUPTION


JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2019


The ethics of business have been thrust into the spotlight


The UK and the US sell billions of dollars’ worth of arms to the KSA’s hardline regime, and neither has suggested that sales might be curbed or cancelled until the House of Saud gets its house in order. In light of seeming governmental indifference to ethics, it’s full marks for companies that make the effort. Utrecht-headquartered BCD Travel has just won a gold rating – for the third consecutive year – from Eco Vadis, which audits corporate social responsibility (CSR) among global supply chains. “Achieving a gold rating from Eco Vadis is an impressive accomplishment in any given year; maintaining the highest rating three years in a row puts us among the top suppliers in the world for our commitment to sustainability,” John Snyder, BCD Travel president and chief executive, says. “It’s an important achievement that reflects our vision and mission as a company.”


of companies in North America and Europe implement corruption risk assessments SOURCE: ECO VADIS


4%


But for all BCD’s success, Eco Vadis maintains companies in general have much ground to make up, suggesting that “most organisations are taking a reactive, unstructured approach to fighting cor- ruption risks”. The company says: “The business community needs to take a closer look at mitigation best practices. There is wide- spread disparity between methods used to fight corruption. Whistleblowing is the most common best practice, followed by anti-corruption training and audits of internal controls. “Other fundamental measures are still


rare, such as corruption risk assessments, with only 4 per cent of companies in both North America and Europe implementing this practice – and just 2 per cent in China, Latin America and AMEA.” The ozone layer is still thinning, travel- ler satisfaction remains patchy, and now ethical business practices – or the lack of them – are being called into question.


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