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Deloitte CEO William G. Parrett Tells Ethics Leaders That Principled Ethical Behavior Fosters Economic Opportunity

Submitted by: Deloitte

Categories: Business Ethics

Posted: May 17, 2004 – 12:00 AM EST

 

Strong Governance and Ethical Behavior Linked to Corporate Well Being

UNITED NATIONS -- William G. Parrett, global chief executive officer of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, called on multinational corporations to establish and follow codes of conduct that transcend minimum compliance, through principled ethical behavior that bolsters the rule of law and would therefore lead to expanded economic opportunities around the world.

Speaking to guests of an International Center for Corporate Accountability forum assembled at the United Nations Delegates dining room, Parrett challenged companies to make "a real difference" by agreeing to establish an independent monitoring process of their conduct and to communicate the findings to the public.

In a speech titled "Globalization's Next Frontier: Principled Codes of Conduct That Bolster The Rule of Law" Parrett told global ethics and business leaders, representatives from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and academic institutions that globalization and world security itself could be jeopardized unless multinational corporations develop ethical conduct that adheres to values and principles rather than just written law.

"I challenge multinational corporations to make a real difference by implementing voluntary codes of behavior that set objective, quantifiable standards," said Parrett. "This goes for my profession -- the accounting profession. We have always strived to 'follow the rules,' but in the wake of scandals and the loss of investor confidence, we obviously must do more to restore public trust."

Parrett added that, in a global environment, principles are important because rules cannot cover all situations.

"Today, the world is watching and hoping," he said. "Deloitte and multinational corporations have two options -- we can decide to act out of self-interest, engage in minimal compliance and let profit be our only measure of success, or all of us can step up and decide to be leaders, bolster the rule of law through our conduct and bring together new markets for global well-being."

Parrett's remarks also focused on improving social conditions and the gains that could be garnered by companies and their communities when those companies follow principled codes of conduct.

"The divide between those who have and those who don't will continue to grow -- and provide fertile ground for the seeds of hatred and unrest to take root, leading to terrorism," Parrett said. "Such disparity cannot be ignored, nor can the conduct of companies who profit from unethical economic behavior."

"What I am talking about is ethical behavior that will promote globalization as an ever-growing force for peace and prosperity," Parrett said.

Deloitte is creating a global code of conduct, basing its development on nine ethical principles to unite its 120,000 people in 150 nations. The code, to be formally adopted and announced at the firm's World Partners meeting to be held in Rome later this June, is being designed as an overarching guide for Deloitte member firms.

"While establishing our code is a crucial first step, our conduct is more important. As our Chief Ethics Officer says, 'It's the behavior, it's not the paper, that counts," concluded Parrett.

The meeting of the International Center for Corporate Accountability was held in conjunction with the University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School of Business, and Baruch College's Zicklin School of Business. The World Bank was a principal sponsor of the event, and other co-sponsors included the Investor Responsibility Research Center, the Social Investment Forum, and the International Labor Rights Fund.

About Deloitte

Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu is an organization of member firms devoted to excellence in providing professional services and advice. We are focused on client service through a global strategy executed locally in nearly 150 countries. With access to the deep intellectual capital of 120,000 people worldwide, our member firms (including their affiliates) deliver services in four professional areas: audit, tax, financial advisory services and consulting. They serve over one-half of the world's largest companies, as well as large national enterprises, public institutions, and successful, fast-growing global growth companies.

Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu is a Swiss Verein (association), and, as such, neither Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu nor any of its member firms has any liability for each other's acts or omissions. Each of the member firms is a separate and independent legal entity operating under the names "Deloitte," "Deloitte & Touche," "Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu" or other related names. The services described herein are provided by the member firms and not by the Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Verein. For regulatory and other reasons certain member firms do not provide services in all four professional areas listed above. For more information, please visit Deloitte's Web site at www.deloitte.com.

For more information, please contact:

Lori Grey Deloitte
Phone: +1 212 492 4635

For more from this organization:

Deloitte

 

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