In the midst of the current crisis of confidence in American businesses, seventeen companies representing nearly $1 trillion in global commerce in industries ranging from financial services to retail have come together as charter members of the Business Ethics Leadership Alliance (BELA). BELA's inaugural class includes some of the most well known and highly respected brands in the world, such as General Electric Company, Accenture, Dell, PepsiCo, Dun & Bradstreet, Ecolab, Wal-Mart, The Hartford, Jones Lang LaSalle, NYK Line, Southern Co., Crawford & Company, Avaya, CACI International, Sempra Energy, Fluor and United Airlines.
BELA is a groundbreaking initiative dedicated to fostering higher standards of corporate ethical responsibility and accountability. BELA was developed by The Ethisphere Institute, a think tank dedicated to the creation, advancement and sharing of best practices in business ethics, corporate social responsibility, anti-corruption and sustainability.
At its essence, BELA proactively empowers businesses to be de facto leaders in self-regulating against corporate fraud, corruption and greed. The four core values for BELA members are:
Legal Compliance: Following both the letter and spirit of the law to counter fraud, corruption, bribery and deceit;
Transparency: Setting the cultural tone from the top by encouraging dialogue on ethical issues and disclosing information in a full, accurate and timely manner;
Conflict Identification: Actively identifying and addressing potential conflicts of interest and appearances of impropriety;
Accountability: Emphasizing quality, customer protection, environmental sustainability and integrity in the supply chain.
"In today's complex operating environment, one of the fundamental building blocks of a sustainable enterprise is an unshakable commitment to responsibility and accountability," said Larry D. Thompson, senior vice president and general counsel of PepsiCo and a former Deputy Attorney General of the United States. "BELA will play a vital role in establishing clear ethical standards that promote those principles across the business community."