From setting the gold standard for international advertising self-regulation since 1937 to enabling businesses to integrate ethics and compliance considerations into their operations, ICC plays a leading role in enabling high standards of corporate governance based on ethical business practices.

To mark the launch of a new study on ethical and responsible business – compiled by Principia Advisory in partnership with ICC, Clifford Chance, INvolve, GlobeScan and the Institute of Business Ethics – we’re highlighting 6 ways in which ICC is committed to ensuring ethics become the bedrock of business strategies in every sector.

  1. Enabling, incentivising and rewarding SME sustainability

In 2019, a grassroots mobilisation of local business leaders, through the Chambers Climate Coalition signalled a tipping point wherein the business community recognised the need for ambitious climate action. At the same time, the initiative also drew attention to the need for more practical tools and guidance to enable businesses with fewer resources, in particular SMEs, to align their operations with the Paris Agreement. In this context, ICC – together with GIST – developed SME360x, a tool which allows SMEs to measure and track their carbon emissions.

With the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change’s Race to Zero Campaign and a number of other private sector partners, ICC has also created the SME Climate Hub. The Hub – which was recently endorsed by the UK government – is a one-stop-shop for SMEs to access tools, resources and incentives to reduce their environmental impact in order to gain competitive advantage. In doing so, the Hub also assists national and multinational businesses in achieving their scope three emissions reductions goals by enabling them to support reducing carbon emissions within their supply chains.

  1. Building capacity for ethical marketing practices

ICC has been the major rule-setter in international advertising self-regulation since 1937, when the ICC issued its first Marketing Code. The ICC Marketing Code provides an international standard for advertising and marketing communications practice, setting ethical standards and best practice guidance for businesses. As a recognised global reference point and harmonising instrument for international best practice and advertising self-regulation, the code is the most authoritative international advertising standard and foundation for industry coherence. It is updated regularly to ensure it remains fit for purpose, including the use of today’s rapidly changing technology, tools and techniques to market products and services. The Code is accompanied by an online Ethical and Marketing online course which is tailored to educate on the practical application of the fundamental ICC Marketing Code principles and aims to develop the skills needed to conceptualise, design and deliver ethical marketing communications.

  1. Driving adoption of family friendly policies

Together with UNICEF, the United Nations which provides humanitarian aid to children, ICC guides businesses on their uptake of child-friendly business practices. From raising global awareness of family-friendly business continuity measures which can be taken in crisis to promoting UNICEF’s Child Rights and Business Principles at level, the ICC-UNICEF partnership mobilises both businesses and governments to recognize the role that responsible, whole-of-society approaches can play in shaping a more equitable future for employees, their children and their families.

  1. Providing anti-corruption tools

As a long-time advocate for self-regulation, ICC was also the first business organisation to issue anti-corruption rules in 1977. As business leaders lay out strategies for sustained performance in the coming years, tackling systemic social issues and contributing to economic development is a top priority. ICC’s one-stop-shop for anti-corruption tools, the ICC Business Integrity Compendium, provides essential guidance on responsible business conduct for companies of all sizes and gathers all ICC Anti-corruption and Corporate Social Responsibility tools.  The ICC Ethics and Compliance Training Handbook also serves as a cornerstone of a global training programme in the field of corporate integrity and compliance.

  1. Promoting anti-trust compliance

ICC was awarded the 2019 Compliance and Ethics Award, bestowed by the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics (SCCE) in recognition of those who have made a significant contribution in the field of compliance and ethics.  The award recognises ICC work in promoting free and competitive markets globally – including engagement with businesses and antitrust agencies around the world to integrate ethics and compliance considerations into business operations.  The ICC Antitrust Compliance Toolkit and the Antitrust Compliance Toolkit for SMEs are key tools in promoting the importance of ethical business.

  1. Embedding ethics in applications of technological innovations

ICC convenes multinational enterprises, SMEs and associations from around the world to represent the voice of business on how information and communication technologies can better serve as engines of economic growth and social development. ICC is also partnering with Oxford University’s Saïd Business School to develop a set of all-encompassing artificial intelligence (AI) principles to enable business to implement innovative, trustworthy, and human-centric AI solutions as part of their operations. The principles will not only contribute to the lives and well-being of people, but to the success of businesses too. By establishing a set of harmonised principles derived from case studies, policy frameworks and initiatives developed by the business community, ICC and Saïd Business School will make a meaningful contribution to ongoing policy discussions on the ethical use of AI.

Consult the full results of the study now.