"Companies play an essential role in influencing society"

Theo Van Der Loo, director of several companies and organizations, he made a career as an executive in the pharmaceutical industry. He was CEO of Bayer in Brazil between 2011 and 2018. With the experience of having lived in several countries, he works as a consultant engaged in diversity issues

By Theo Van Der Loo

Ethics have always been a determining factor in business since the beginning of commercial activities, based above all on trust and respect. Unfortunately, there are companies that fail to treat ethics as a priority, interested in immediate benefits, but misleading, as these actions compromise the future of the company itself.

Lack of ethics is not sustainable in the long run. Acting ethically, on the contrary, is one of the elements of real success for professionals, corporations and nations. It is not by chance that the countries that show most care for ethics have solid and consistent economic and social development.

ETCO is a lighthouse

ETCO has played a very important role in shed light on the issues of competition ethics in Brazil. Evolving on these issues will certainly help the country to become more fair and competitive. When we remember that actions such as those revealed by Operation Lava Jato took place so recently, it becomes evident how much we need to mature in this theme.

I am fully convinced that companies play an essential role in influencing society. Organizations that act ethically contribute to a more ethical society, as does the reverse. If more and more companies give real priority to ethics, it will be increasingly difficult to act outside the proper behavioral parameters.

calm conscience

It is also important to remember that not everything that is legally legal can automatically be considered ethical. Ethics are above the law. A typical example of this are companies that are always looking for loopholes and subterfuges to reduce the tax burden or postpone the payment of tax debts. Some have turned this modus operandi into a strategy to increase profitability. The creation of the single global tax, approved at the last G20 meeting, clearly illustrates that ethics is a process that improves over time.

No illegal, unlawful or immoral action can be justified. Even because nothing can be more valuable to a manager than sleeping with a clear conscience, knowing that you are contributing to the evolution of society and that there is no risk of seeing your name involved in any scandal.