The Haz Foundation yesterday presented its report “Transparency and good governance on ethics and compliance practices of IBEX 35 companies 2021″, in which it has highlighted and classified the efforts of several of these companies to enhance the voluntary dissemination of information and compliance data for greater transparency beyond their legal obligations, as indicated by Javier Martín Cavanna, director of the Foundation.
The presentation, which took place at the Eighth Meeting of Cumplen (Association of Regulatory Compliance Professionals) at the Gran Casino de Madrid, was attended by the secretary of this association and legal director of J. García Carrión, David López Medina, as well as Isabel González Alfaro, Chief Compliance Officer of Naturgy Energy Group, and Lidón Safont Sánchez, director of the compliance unit of Telefónica.
Cavanna pointed out that one of the complications in talking about transparency beyond mandatory compliance was deciding what information should be communicated, and made suggestions regarding fiscal responsibility, external auditors, senior talent management practices and policies, the accumulation of power (cessationism) and, as might be expected, regulatory compliance.
In this regard, he welcomed the fact that, according to the list, IBEX 35 companies had improved their compliance policies, including anti-corruption, anti-bribery, conflict of interest and code of ethics.
STANDARDISING COMPLIANCE REPORTING
In this respect, he said, it is useful to reach a consensus on the criteria for the future. He therefore recommends standardising compliance reports and including information on the results of the whistleblowing channel that companies should implement.
External verification of compliance is also a good way to improve transparency, although Cannava pointed out that not everything goes when it comes to evaluating it. “We don’t take this service for granted if it is done by the same people who are responsible for carrying out the statutory audit, even if it is not something that is prohibited,” he said.
“The aim should not only be to avoid sanctions, but also to promote a culture of ethics and sustainability,” he said, with a special focus on training and awareness-raising for employees and managers.
He emphasised that “well-trained employees help in better prevention” and that the most complicated situation arises in attempts to “synthesise [in a report] the most important aspects of compliance” among companies.
According to the report, companies are classified according to a “traffic light” rating system, where, according to the sum of points in different criteria, they can be “transparent, translucent or opaque”, especially assessing the visibility and accessibility of data on the website, its updating and completeness.
They are divided as follows: