Survey says: Ethics is a key component of business success

Sascha Matuszak ( ) is a reporter at SCCE & HCCA in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.

Compliance professionals are generally referred to as compliance and ethics professionals, which implies that ethical considerations have as much to do with a company’s level of compliance as does attention to the law. Several recent surveys point to trends that seem to support this idea, including one in particular, "KPMG's 2019 Chief Compliance Officer Survey: Insights for the future of ethics & compliance,” ( in which 66% of respondents identified ethics as “one of the key regulatory and compliance obligations around which they plan to refine their efforts in 2019.”

According to the results of the survey, high-profile ethics breaches, which resulted in a record number of top-level CEOs being dumped by their companies, have boards of directors focusing on mitigating the risk of ethical breaches. Results indicate that organizations are focusing primarily on investigations and monitoring, ethics, and training; investigations to identify trends and root causes; ethics to clarify what is the “right thing to do” and to reinforce accountability for failure to do so; and training to reinforce the firm’s values and controls through meaningful example.

The KPMG survey comes at a time when ethics and the moral reputation of an organization are having a dramatic influence on business performance. Two studies—a look at the food industry ( by L.E.K Consulting LLC and a Crestline study ( on consumer behavior—show that consumers want to “shop their values,” and prefer to support products and brands that match their own ethical stance on a variety of issues.

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