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Banks Embrace Corporate Culture as Change Agent

Corporate culture is not automatically positive, and elements of a company’s culture may provide certain benefits or disadvantages to a firm’s competitiveness. When acknowledged, corporate culture can be used as a tool to drive better business outcomes and manage conduct and compliance risk. Our discussions with companies show that corporate culture can have a dominant effect and influence behaviour over and beyond stated company policies and programs.

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Deforestation and Biodiversity Loss Highlight the need for a Better Normal

The world is aching for a return to normality after a year (and still counting) of news bulletins being dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic; Earth Day 2021 should serve as a stark reminder that we cannot go back to business-as-usual. We must address the vast environmental challenges facing humanity, such as climate change, loss of biodiversity, extreme weather and issues related to water.

Personal Products and the New Ethics of Product Naming

Over recent years, personal product (PP) companies have faced an increasing demand for more inclusive product governance – from formulations to labels – and marketing that reflects the diversity of consumers. To grow sustainably within their communities and stay relevant for their target customers, such companies need to create value for society proactively. Some of the major players in this industry have already started paving the way for others.

926 Engagement Meetings in Emerging Markets
Lessons Learned from 926 Engagement Meetings in Emerging Markets

When Sustainalytics (GES[1]) initiated the Emerging Markets (EM) Engagement program as a pilot project in 2009, the scale, scope and impact were undetermined factors. Based on the successful execution of the program methodology in the African and Middle Eastern regions during the pilot stage, the full program launched in 2010 to cover all major emerging markets. After the project close in July 2020, the program accounts for 926 meetings with companies in emerging markets.

Two Sides of the Corporate Taxation Debate

There is a growing awareness of how, and how much, corporations pay in taxes. This heightened cognizance has led to on-going public debates regarding the inherently unfair structure of many global corporate tax systems.

Taxation 2.0

Focused on 20 companies in the technology and pharmaceutical sectors, this engagement aims to create awareness among companies on tax avoidance and to encourage companies to approach tax as a corporate governance and risk management issue.

Death and Taxes are the Only Constants - But Not for Everyone

Major global companies such Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple (known as “GAFA”) have come to dominate not just the tech industry but increasingly global commerce as well. The OECD estimates that companies like these avoid USD 100-240 billion in taxes annually, representing roughly 4-10% of global corporate income tax revenues. Attention paid to corporate taxation has also risen sharply in recent years, with increasingly heated debates on what constitutes “companies paying their fair share.”

Business Ethics and Economic Downturn - A Closer Look at China

In October 2019, China posted its lowest quarterly GDP growth rate (6.0%) in 30 years. While the country’s trade war with the US might have added to the economic headwind, the economic results are in line with a decade of cooling down following years of double-digital growth.

Tax Transparency in Australia

As Benjamin Franklin once said, “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” He was referring to the world in 1789. In today’s world, death remains a certainty. Taxes on the other hand, are less certain as companies, accountants and lawyers have found ways to reduce tax obligations.

Corruption and Whistleblower Protection in Australia

Recent inquiries and public scrutiny have questioned the accountability and ethical conduct of companies in Australia. The performance and integrity of the public sector, as well as the private sector, are being closely watched.

Whistleblower Protections in Europe: Considerations for Investors

All organizations have hidden vulnerabilities. Whistleblowing exposes fraud and other financial crimes, thereby giving society an opportunity to act against misbehaviour. Globally, whistleblowers have helped save lives, recover billions of dollars, and protect the environment and local communities.

Auditor Independence: Lessons from KPMG South Africa & Other Scandals

A good reputation is arguably one of an audit firm’s most valuable assets. But when auditor independence is compromised, it can have very negative consequences for the relevant stakeholders and, in extreme cases, it can even undermine the public’s trust in a country’s financial system. Recent controversies at Tesco and BT Group, involving PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), have led to the unprecedented termination of important business relationships going back three decades. KPMG South Africa’ involvement in a political corruption scandal is also proving to have even more far-reaching implications, which risks impacting KPMG’s international operations. In this blog post, I will delve into these controversies and highlight the mechanisms that can help to preserve auditor independence and maintain a strong reputation.