Nordic Firms: 1/3 Don’t Gauge Ethics, Compliance Effectiveness

Latest Annual Survey from Nordic Business Ethics Network, in Collaboration with LRN, Highlights the Scale of Opportunity for E&C Programs Across the Region


New research indicates that although companies across the Nordic region have made some progress regarding ethics and compliance (E&C) programs, they are still lagging significantly behind their global peers, according to the Nordic Business Ethics Network (NBEN).

The new report—the 2023 Nordic Ethics and Compliance Survey—is based on survey responses from 123 compliance professionals working in Nordic-based organizations across 17 different industries. For the first time, this year’s report was supplemented by LRN Corporation, the leader in ethics and compliance solutions that enable organizations to inspire principled performance, which provided international comparative data and perspective from its global flagship Ethics & Compliance Program Effectiveness Report.

This year’s report found that although most organizations appear to have the critical basic E&C elements in place—such as having a formalized E&C program, conducting risk assessments, and having anonymous whistleblower lines—nearly a third of firms (31%) are not measuring the effectiveness of their program activities.

Among the other key findings from the report include:

  • Compared to two years ago, more organizations say they have a dedicated E&C officer (85%) and E&C team sizes have increased.
  • E-learning is reported as the most common way (98%) organizations train on their organization’s code of conduct, but just 10% provide tailored in-person E&C training to their entire workforce. This compares with the 35% of global programs which provide personalized learning options (whether in-person, e-learning, or hybrid).
  • Half (50%) of chief compliance officers across the region say they report to their board or a board committee with prior materials review by the CEO or General Counsel; only 27% have direct and independent access, compared with 82% of global peer organizations
  • Very few (13%) Nordic organizations say that E&C is reflected in their compensation or incentive schemes, putting the region far behind their global peers (around 50% of which say E&C is incorporated into performance management, promotion decisions, and bonus allocations).

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