In today's era of business competition, only companies that reflect high standards of business ethics and integrity will continue to survive and be sustainable. All companies are currently in a constant race to meet the most elevated and universally acceptable ethical standards. To answer this challenge, this year, APP Sinar Mas (APP), through the Ethics & Compliance Department (ECD), updated the Business Code of Conduct (BCOC) which was launched virtually on August 13, 2021. The new BCOC launching also marks the start of the BCOC training period for APP employees around the globe.
The BCOC Virtual Launch 2021 event was held with the theme "Ethics in APP Sinar Mas' Business - Benefits and Implementation for All Stakeholders". All APP Sinar Mas employees from all work locations and the Company's business partners were invited to the event. More than 1,800 participants attended the event. Through this event, employees, business partners, and other stakeholders are expected to understand the importance of ethics in business and are committed to collectively building an ethical and high-integrity business culture.
The BCOC Virtual Launch 2021 was also attended by the Ethics & Compliance Department (ECD) Head of APP Sinar Mas, R. Ius Oilianto, Head of Corporate Risk & Integrity (CRI) APP Sinar Mas, David C. Smith, as well as Senior Partner of RSM Indonesia and President of Institute of Internal Auditors Indonesia (IIA), Angela Indirawati Simatupang.
Here are some summaries of the BCOC Virtual Launch 2021 Q&A session with ECD Head of APP Sinar Mas, R. Ius Oilianto:
What is business ethics?
Business ethics is a set of moral principles that apply to everyone in carrying out business activities. In APP Sinar Mas, the BCOC contains a set of moral principles as a global reference, reflecting the ethical norms, the Company’s culture and character, and the business standards of conduct for all APP Sinar Mas employees towards stakeholders. The BCOC is designed to provide guidelines for business conduct based on APP Sinar Mas's Core Values, honesty and integrity.It also summarizes the important policies related to ethics and legal obligations that the Company must implement.
All APP Sinar Mas employees, regardless of their location, position, or rank, must read, understand, and implement the BCOC in their daily conduct, wherever they are. The goal is that everyone who works for or with APP Sinar Mas feels assured in our high ethical standards, honesty, and integrity.
Why should we build the Ethics and Compliance culture for operating the APP Sinar Mas’s business? What are the benefits for the Company?
APP Sinar Mas’s overall business ethics and compliance programs are a follow-up to respect and embody the spirit, goals, and noble values of APP Sinar Mas’s Founding Father, Eka Tjipta Widjaja. The enforcement of an ethical and compliance culture has enormous benefits for the Company, especially for business sustainability. The achievement of long-term sustainability and growth cannot occur without upholding ethical standards in business operations and interaction with stakeholders.
Nowadays, companies are expected to ensure ethical management and continuously strive to achieve competitiveness upon the basis of a good ethic. Implementing business ethics helps management and employees manage the Company better, thereby reducing the operational, legal, and other business risks. In the end, the application of business ethics can help us gain the trust of all stakeholders, furthermore, maintaining and improving the Company's reputation.
In conclusion, "good ethics is good business." It’s only natural for us to be committed to doing the right thing in everything we do by acting honestly and treating each other with kindness, fairness, and integrity, including to our customers, suppliers, business partners, and communities.
As the ECD Head, whose responsible for the Ethics and Compliance program, what is the role of ECD in building an effective Ethics and Compliance program at APP Sinar Mas?
As Company’s representative, ECD is responsible for ensuring the fulfillment of ethical and compliance standards by the Company through the completion of a set of policies, procedures, and systems that are continuously improved following the shareholders’ instructions and directions, as well as business conditions and applicable global regulatory provisions.
Several ethical and compliance tools that have been developed by the Company through ECD include the establishment of policies related to the BCOC, Gifts & Entertainment (GE), Conflict of Interest (eKinship), and Anti-Bribery & Corruption. Equally important, the Company has also built a Whistleblower system as a reporting channel for complaints and violations where confidentiality and non-retaliation are guaranteed and upheld.
To ensure that all these policies are internalized and implemented effectively by all employees and business partners, mandatory BCOC training is held as the foundation for building the business ethics and compliance culture at APP Sinar Mas. All employees at all company levels and operational areas, including the International Branch Offices (IBO), must participate in the BCOC Training, which will be held in September 2021.
Building Ethics and Compliance into a Company’s culture is not easy and is a long journey. What are the biggest obstacles or challenges encountered in realizing this goal? How does the ECD efforts in building the programs to make ethics and compliance become a culture?
There are many challenges in each process of building culture. The biggest challenge faced by APP Sinar Mas in realizing this goal is the large and diverse number of employees and stakeholders owned, with demographic or work locations spread across within and outside the country. Thus, ensuring that everyone has the same understanding and interpretation in one big frame of an ethical business environment is a big challenge that must be faced collectively by all parties.
To ensure that ethics and compliance are embedded in the Company’s culture, ECD made the effort by incorporating ethics and compliance aspects as one of the main elements of the Company's business strategy and ensuring that the leaders act as a role model and provide examples of good ethical behavior. In addition, the ECD tried to build a culture of high integrity at APP Sinar Mas by preparing and communicating a comprehensive set of policies, as well as implementing an effective ethics and compliance training and socialization program.
Furthermore, ECD is building a reliable Speak Up culture, following up on reports raised in good faith, and ensuring clear accountability when violations occur. In the end, what we want to achieve is the involvement by all APP Sinar Mas employees in the programs established as the ECD’s key success of highest ethics and integrity culture.
The enforcement of business ethics is a joint effort, and it can only be successful if we all committed to making it happen. The Ethics and Compliance programs requires good engagement, cooperation, and collaboration from the various elements of the Companies, including Business Partners.
Thank you for the commitment and effort from management and employees who have understood and will continue to uphold the high standards of ethics and integrity that will make APP the best place to work. Together, we can ensure that ethics and integrity are never compromised at APP Sinar Mas. All Management of APP Sinar Mas is confident that we can conduct our business in accordance with the BCOC. Let's commit to collectively implementing the BCOC to build a sustainable business and create added value for all stakeholders.