Published on 26 April 2022 by Jean-Luc Soulier

Editorial – Compliance: A civilization issue

Over the years, risk management has become a major issue for companies. For decades, they have been faced with an increased criminalization of their activities and an explosion of new and increasingly complex regulations in a wide variety of fields such as the protection of personal data and respect for the environment.

This regulatory hell is paved with good intentions. The rule of law must guarantee a free competition environment where the dices are not loaded and where corruption has no place.

Those who reject globalization in the name of exacerbated nationalism ignore the role played by the international institutions born after World War I and World War II.

Last month, I wrote about the major challenge of fighting foreign bribery[1], a challenge spearheaded by OECD, an organization created in 1960 by 20 countries and which will soon have more than 40 members.

Each of us, at our modest level, take part in the defense of a free and democratic society based on rules that apply to all and that aim to guarantee the respect of fundamental values: In addition to freedom of opinion, the corollary of which is freedom of the press, an independent judicial system, and for businesses an ethical competitive environment.

Remove one of the stones of this edifice and this is the whole set of common values of civilized countries that is at risk.

The prominence of compliance in France since the adoption of the Sapin 2 law in 2016, which intends to impose on organizations ethical rules largely inspired by the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials and the recommendations of this international organization, forces companies to set up complex internal monitoring and control systems, the adoption of which first requires risk mapping.

The issue at stake is not simply legal. It is also a civilization issue.

Our firm, because of our wide range of practice areas and our international culture, is technically and culturally equipped to help companies carry out this important task that the increased risks of sanctions they face makes increasingly unavoidable.

In our next e-newsletters, we will devote many articles to this multifaceted issue of compliance, the scope of which is constantly expanding to include new risks.

[1] Cf. article entitled Fighting foreign bribery: The OECD Working Group’s Phase 4 report on France distributes good and bad marks published on our Blog in March 2022