Issue 14: November 2014
In this issue of Setting the Example, we share our views on two important topics: the apparent conflict between ethics and legality as regards corporate taxation and the divide between what constitutes corruption or acceptable practices as regards gifts. This issue also focuses on transparency in corporate reporting and on corruption. The latter includes a report on the enormous cost of corruption and a reminder that Transparency International’s 20th annual Corruption Perceptions Index of global public sector corruption will be released shortly.


The statement that ethical behaviour is "doing the right thing when no one else is watching" is often attributed to Aldo Leopold, the American wildlife biologist and conservationist. But mostly this saying excludes what can be regarded as the punch line: that ethical behaviour is doing the right thing when no one else is watching – even when doing the wrong thing is legal. It would be ideal if what was considered ethical was mirrored by what was regarded as legal and if unethical conduct was always illegal. Unfortunately, the two do not always coincide. Read more …



The giving and receiving of gifts is especially prevalent at this time of the year. This not only highlights the question of what is and is not acceptable and ethical, but also increases the potential for abuse.

While some organisations adopt a no gift policy, many others accept that occasional gifts shared between people with whom the company does business is not unusual, but rather a part of normal social exchange.

Ensuring that the line between corruption and acceptable practice is understood and that the potential for abuse is minimised warrant that organisations have a very clear Gift Policy. Read more ...



Transparency International’s 2014 report, Transparency in Corporate Reporting: Assessing the World’s Largest Companies, evaluates the transparency of corporate reporting by the world’s 124 largest publicly listed companies. The report assesses their disclosure practices with respect to their anti-corruption programmes, company holdings and the disclosure of key financial information on a country-by-country. This is based on Transparency International’s belief that public reporting allows for increasing monitoring by stakeholders and the public at large, thereby making companies more accountable.

While the report acknowledges that progress is being made as regards reporting on anti-corruption programmes, the same cannot be said of information about company holdings and the disclosure of key financial information to governments on a country-by-country basis. For example, companies like Google, Amazon, Apple and IBM all fail to publish a full list of countries where their subsidiaries operate.

The report includes sound recommendations for global companies, governments and regulatory bodies, investors and civil society organisations. Read more...



Cynthia Schoeman was interviewed by David Williams and Tumisho Grater on 27 October 2014 on the Open Exchange programme on CNBC Africa to discuss the ethical side of the HCI situation and the quality of ethics reporting. Listen to interview…
Classic FM interview: Ethics can
Cynthia Schoeman was interviewed by Michael Avery on 30 October 2014 on the Sustainability Feature on Classic FM to discuss ethics and her latest book, Ethics can. Listen to interview…


Ethics can: an ethical year-end gift
The ethical challenges associated with year-end corporate gifts can be avoided by giving a gift that promotes ethics. “Ethics can” is a perfect gift that is suitable for your board members, executives, clients and employees. Read more …

Books are available from Exclusive Books and Inscribed autographed copies can be bought directly from the author. Order …


The Trillion Dollar Scandal
ONE, an international campaigning and advocacy organisation, published a report in September 2014 entitled The Trillion Dollar Scandal, which details how an estimated $1tn (£600bn) a year is being taken out of poor countries and millions of lives are lost because of corruption. Read more …


2014 Corruption Perceptions Index
Transparency International will release its 20th annual Corruption Perceptions Index on Wednesday, 3 December 2014. This year’s Index ranks 175 countries/territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption. The Corruption Perceptions Index draws on 12 surveys covering expert assessments and views of businesspeople, and offers a yearly snapshot of the relative degree of corruption by ranking countries from all over the globe.
Read more …


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About Ethics Monitoring & Management Services (Pty) Ltd

Ethics Monitoring & Management Services was started by Cynthia Schoeman to help organisations to improve ethics in the workplace and to encourage them to manage ethics proactively. Cynthia developed The Ethics Monitor, a web-based ethics survey, which enables organisations to measure, monitor and report on their ethical status. Ethics Monitoring & Management Services also offers ethics talks, workshop, consulting and training.

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Contact us

Cynthia Schoeman
Managing Director,
Ethics Monitoring & Management
Services (Pty) Ltd
011 447 7661; 082 821 3729;

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