Thales, global leader in aerospace, defence and security, has seen its efforts to foster a strong ethical corporate culture rewarded across 2012, with its CSR and anti-corruption programmes gaining international recognition.
UK-based Non-Governmental Organisation Transparency International has ranked Thales as one of the top 10 worldwide defence and aerospace groups for its strategies for the prevention of corruption. This ranking is based on the public commitment by the group to enforce strong anti-corruption strategies and to engage in transparent dialogue with global stakeholders.
The group’s corporate culture received further affirmation by the United Nations earlier this year, when Thales’s Corporate Social Responsibility performance was graded as “advanced” by the UN among 7 000 signatories to the organisation’s Global Compact. The Global Compact is a strategic policy initiative for businesses, which commits adherents to aligning operations and strategies with 10 universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. By doing so, business, as a primary driver of globalisation, can help ensure that markets, commerce, technology and finance advance in ways that benefit economies and respect societies everywhere.
The group’s corruption prevention efforts focus on fostering an internal culture of responsibility, implementing a comprehensive anti-corruption policy, conducting regular assessments of the risks associated with exposure to corruption and regular audits of the company’s control systems, all underpinned by a comprehensive awareness and training programme aimed at familiarising employees to the issue and to provide them with the tools necessary to be internally vigilant.
Externally, Thales undertakes a number of industry-wide actions centred at promoting a level playing field for fair competition. Chief of these is its status as founding member of The International Forum on Ethical Business Conduct (IFBEC2), an association composed of global aerospace and defence industry groups, whose goal is to compel the entire industry to apply a set of Global Principles of Business Ethics2. These principles commit companies to conducting themselves through strict ethical business practices, thus fostering the emergence of industry-wide ethical standards.
Commenting on the group’s strategies, Dominique Lamoureux, Thales VP of Ethics and Corporate Responsibility, said: “Thales’s corruption prevention strategy is based on the conviction that a culture of integrity and responsibility is crucial to long-term success. We therefore maintain a zero-tolerance approach to corruption, adhering to strict internal guidelines and procedures, investing manpower and resources in the form of an internal team dedicated to corruption prevention, in order to be conformant to both international conventions and national regulations across all the countries we operate in.”
Discussing the group’s efforts to foster cross-industry co-operation, Lamoureux added: “Although crucial, rigorous internal strategies such as the ones we enact represent but one aspect of what needs to be done. We also firmly believe that groups operating in sensitive and critical industries such as ours have a responsibility to promote a level playing field for fair competition. This being our ultimate goal, we realise that for a level playing field to be truly achieved, we all have to play our part, including the public procurement agencies who put out tenders and make the supplier selections. These agencies exert a tremendous amount of influence, and need to take responsibility for clearly favouring enterprises who consistently demonstrate they prevent corruption, thus promoting this culture from within public services organisations.”
All of the group’s policies and driving principles are available to the public, please click on the following link: Thales Corporate Responsibility Report 2011 (or see the notes to editors below1).
Notes to editors:
1. To view the Thales Corporate Responsibility report please copy and paste this address on your web browser:
2. For further information on the IFBEC and for the full description of its mission, objectives as well as an explanation of their Global Principles of Business Ethics, please visit http://ifbec.info
Thales’s business ethics strategy is based on two dimensions:
First dimension consists of key components the of CSR and corruption prevention strategy, subdivided into internal and external components:
· Zero-tolerance – A zero-tolerance approach to all acts of bribery and corruption
· Organisation and resources – Dedicated organisation and associated resources to implement corruption prevention measures
· Comprehensive integrity policy – With corruption risk prevention procedures embedded in business processes
· Risk mapping – Regular assessment of risks of exposure to corruption to adjust the prevention strategy
· Internal audit and control systems – Business ethics audits and internal control
· Ethics alert – Internal whistle-blowing procedures for employees
· Industry-wide actions – Promote best practices sharing and level playing field across the industry
The second dimension consists of a series of transversal driving principles:
· Compliance with national and international regulations
· Proportionality of prevention measures in line with the levels of risk
· Risk identification and qualification processes
· Risk-based due diligence and associated risk mitigation plans
· Escalation procedures when higher-level decisions are required
· Segregation of duties and responsibilities, with recourse to dedicated structures with the necessary expertise and experience
· Traceability and transparency
· Responsible behaviour, accountability, rigour and professionalism
Thales is a global technology leader for the defence and security, and the aerospace and transport markets. In 2011, the company generated revenue of £11.4 billion (€13 billion), with 67 000 employees in 56 countries. With its 22 500 engineers and researchers, Thales has a unique capability to design, develop and deploy equipment, systems and services that meet the most complex security requirements. Thales has an exceptional international footprint, with operations around the world working with customers and local partners. www.thalesgroup.com