Listen to Create a Compliance Charter

Listen to Create a Compliance Charter

In an article entitled "Learning to Work with Green Activists" published in this month's Harvard Business Review, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Duke Energy, James E. Rogers, writes about his experiences early in his tenure where he embarked on "100 Days of Listening" during the first few months on the job. His initial idea was to meet with as many company stakeholders as he could before taking substantive action in his new position as CEO to Public Service Indiana (PSI), the predecessor of Duke Energy. After some consideration and (apparent) gnashing of corporate teeth, he decided to add a group to this list which was not traditionally viewed as a group of PSI stakeholders - environmental activists. The results from this last decision have an interesting application to the maintenance of a corporate compliance program.

From listening to these various environmental groups, Rogers decided that PSI needed to integrate environmental risks into the company's decision making calculus. To facilitate that effort Rogers decided to create an environmental charter. This ten-point charter has been used as a guidepost when PSI, and now Duke Energy, approaches environmental issues. We reviewed this environmental charter and believe that it is a very useful approach for a company to take in the area of compliance, so with a tip of the hat towards Rogers' work at PSI and Duke Energy, we use it as the basis of a Compliance Charter for today's post.

  1. Incorporate compliance risk and assessment into your company's overall planning process.
  2. Compare and consider the compliance consequences of choosing certain suppliers and contractors when purchasing supplies or services.
  3. Maintain and enhance internal procedures for both routine and emergency compliance issues which may arise; periodically conduct formal reviews and report the results to the Board of Directors.
  4. Educate all company employees on the importance of not only their own personal compliance conduct, but that of the overall company as well.
  5. Make compliance responsibility and innovation a guideline for measuring employee performance.
  6. Make available to employees, suppliers and customers the company's compliance program and its lessons learned.
  7. Use technology to leverage individual behavior in the area of compliance.
  8. Pursue methods to prevent, detect and deter violations of your company's compliance program.
  9. Promote sound compliance practices within your industry.
  10. Maintain open and constructive relationships with others in the compliance field and business regulators in countries where you do business.

We hope that this list will provide you with some ideas that you can incorporate into your compliance program. But more importantly we hope that Rogers' experiences will remind you that a key part of any successful corporate program is listening.


Want to hear more from Thomas Fox, add these webinars and World-Check FCPA Road Show events to your calendar:

I. Webinars

  1. Thursday, April 28 at 12 EDT, I am co-hosting a webinar with Mary Shaddock Jones, Assistant General Counsel and Director of Compliance at Global Industries, Ltd., on "Current FCPA Compliance Program Best Practices: Lessons Learned from Recent DPAs".  For information and registration details click here.
  2. Thursday May 12 at 11 AM EDT, I am a co-panelist with Scott Moritz, Managing Director of Navigant, on a webinar hosted by Dow Jones, entitled, "Risk Assessment: The First Step in Any Compliance Program".  For information and registration details click here.

II. World-Check FCPA Road Shows.

Co-presenting with Stephen Martin, General Counsel of Corpedia, on "Anti-Corruption/FCPA Developments & Best Practices"

  1. Tuesday, May 3 from 8-10 AM PDT at McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurant, in Phoenix, AZ. For information and registration details click here.
  2. Wednesday, May 4 from 8-10 AM PDT at San Diego Marriott Del Mar: Santa Fe Ballroom, in San Diego, CA.  For information and registration details click here.

I hope you can attend the webinars, and if you are in Phoenix or San Diego, come out to 'listen' to myself and Stephen Martin.

Visit the FCPA Compliance and Ethics Blog, hosted by Thomas Fox, for more commentary on FCPA compliance, indemnities and other forms of risk management for a worldwide energy practice, tax issues faced by multi-national US companies, insurance coverage issues and protection of trade secrets.

This publication contains general information only and is based on the experiences and research of the author. The author is not, by means of this publication, rendering business, legal advice, or other professional advice or services. This publication is not a substitute for such legal advice or services, nor should it be used as a basis for any decision or action that may affect your business. Before making any decision or taking any action that may affect your business, you should consult a qualified legal advisor. The author, his affiliates, and related entities shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by any person or entity that relies on this publication. The Author gives his permission to link, post, distribute, or reference this article for any lawful purpose, provided attribution is made to the author. The author can be reached at

© Thomas R. Fox, 2011

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