Sneak Peek: NAVEX Next Virtual Conference Europe 2022

May 26, 2022

On 9th June, 2022, NAVEX will host the annual NAVEX Next 2022 European Risk and Compliance Virtual Conference . The virtual conference will include a series of webinar sessions, including informative discussions from industry experts and customers, covering a range of trending compliance topics, such as Anti-Bribery and Corruption, the EU Whistleblowing Protection Directive and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG). Below is a preview of what upcoming discussion points to expect on the day.

Key Topics Covered

The EU Whistleblowing Protection Directive

On 17th December 2021, new laws began to require companies with over 50 employees operating in countries within the EU mechanisms for employees to report breaches of law and other regulations. They must provide multiple reporting channels, allow for anonymity and protect all employees from retaliation once a whistleblowing report had been raised. Though, of course, it isn’t always that simple. During NAVEX Next, our industry experts, leaders and customers will be discussing key trends, frequently asked questions, and challenges that they have faced whilst implementing the new legal requirements into their organisations. Topics to be discussed, include:

Whistleblowing Communication

How can/should organisations communicate the whistleblowing directive to their employees? Organisations should set up clear internal locations, communications and policies that enable employees to easily find where to raise reports. Doing so shows that the company is dedicated to following and abiding by the whistleblowing directive, helping to install trust into employees.       

Anonymous Whistleblowing

Should anonymous reports be invested in and investigated? How should a company go about dealing with an anonymous report? In the Directive, companies have the choice as to whether they invest, or investigate, reports without a name. However, it is often advised that they do so, as there are online platforms that now make it easy to communicate with anonymous employees. In addition, it shouldn’t matter who raised the report, or what level of seniority it came from, every report should be taken seriously.

Key Implementation Challenges

What are the main challenges of implementing a whistleblowing system for a large global organisation? Managing whistleblowing regulations, in several different countries, all at different stages of transposing the Directive, can be difficult. There are unique cultural differences to consider, timings and countries interpreting and implementing the rules differently. Countries, such as Ireland, have proposed that they simply alter previous whistleblowing acts, whilst others go beyond the minimum requirements of the Directive.

Reporting Channel Success

What reporting channels have been found to be the most successful thus far? Each organisation must implement a variety of reporting channels and clearly advertise to employees which channels may be best for their personal situation but what channels so far have proven to be the most useful and why?

Cultural Inclusion

What positives have resulted, across different cultures and countries, from the implementation of the Directive? With the implementation of the Directive, people from all countries and cultures can have the freedom of speech and lawful right to speak up against wrongdoing, feel heard and valued, no matter where they are in the world.

Environmental, Social and Governance

Environmental, social and governance is a key, and growing, compliance topic, and an area that needs to be monitored, both within the company and supply chain, for a business to successfully run. When a company does not properly invest in ESG, it could lose potential funding and investments, experience diminished public reputation and other negative effects.

ESG is Here to Stay

Is ESG a trend or a permanent change to the way businesses run? With the changing world, media and recent global events, such as the COP26 Summit in Scotland, investors and customers are increasingly ethnically and socially aware regarding where their products are coming from and how they are manufactured – on what appears to be an expected permanent basis. Many investors will now only take a company seriously if a company can provide evidence that ESG is managed and monitored.

Regulatory Requirements

Another contribution to society’s increasing focus on ESG, is that regulatory requirements are intensifying. With a vast number of new laws being introduced globally, from the ISSB and European Commission, the legal importance, and pressures, for companies to comply with ESG monitoring, both within their supply and value chain, is increasing.

The Positive Effects of ESG Monitoring

What long term value does measuring and making progress in ESG metrics bring to corporations, investors, and society? For corporations, measuring ESG metrics can result in a higher employee retention rate and customer loyalty. For investors, positive ESG ratings drive higher asset valuation. And for society, ESG policies for understanding and improving business drives a permanent impact and sends a message that the company is committed to addressing ethical and social issues.

Anti-Bribery and Corruption

Tackling anti-bribery and corruption is a major key to running an ethical and compliant company. In doing so, companies can strengthen their whistleblowing and ESG strategies, abide by the business’s legal obligations and instill trust both from employees and supply chain workers. However, it may not be so simple to manage with human behaviour and culture differences now having a huge impact.

The Concept

Is corruption a legal concept or is corruption a human behaviour? Organisations must realise that controlling corruption and bribery is not all about simply abiding by the law. Increasing the focus on employee behavioural risks, and how these can be managed, may be the next right step for companies to focus on.

Cultural Differences

Do anti-bribery and corruption perceptions vary between different countries and cultures?Bribery and corruption laws do indeed vary between different countries, teams, departments, and people; and what constitutes as corruption, or a bribe, to some, may be interpreted in a different way by another. This creates many challenges for global businesses that are looking to keep bribery and corruption under control, whilst abiding with different sets of laws.

Tackling the Issue

How can companies tackle bribery and corruption? It is becoming clear that bribery and corruption within organisations is not as homogeneous as one thought and new methods, such as subculture audits, may be the way forward to tackle the issue.

Speaker Highlights

We’re pleased to share some of the speakers who will address the topics listed above. A few of the speakers and industry experts joining the discussions, include:

  • Alexander Moller, Partner, SKW Schwarz
  • Andy Noble, Head of Whistleblowing, National Westminster Bank PLC (NatWest)
  • Anna Geraci, Group Senior Audit Manager, CCB Management Services GmbH
  • Georgina Halford-Hall, CEO, Whistleblowers UK
  • Dex Hunter-Corrick, Head of Communications, Meta Oversight Board
  • Jan Stappers LLP, Senior Manager/ Whistleblowing Specialist, Partnerships, NAVEX
  • Giles Newman, Managing Director, International, NAVEX
  • Sean Thompson, CEO, NAVEX
  • Susan Beermann, Chief Marketing Officer, NAVEX

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