Thursday, June 16, 2016

Eni and the Marketing of Ethics

Social Responsibility, Corporate Governance and Code of Ethics are subjects that are becoming increasingly common in corporate environments. But they are only becoming common on the speech of the companies. There is a “black box” called “corporate corruption” over which we have little information. The press and public opinion show a lot of interest when the subject is corruption in the public sphere. The same dedication doesn’t exist in the case of private relations. Thus, a company can build a “responsibility marketing” keeping under the carpet its transgressions.
This can turn very important themes into “marketers slogans”. That’s what happened in my case, involving the Italian giant Eni who fired me after I fulfilled its code of Ethics. It has continued to be positive the company firing people involved in the facts that I gathered and reported. But one question still remains: how far reached the branches of the corruption scheme that I helped to identify and annihilate here in Brazil? Do they metastasize in the company’s headquarters in Italy? Evidently yes!
Here is a very difficult question to be faced today in the corporate world: what to do when the internal channels of the company punish with dismissal professionals who report deviations of conduct and nonconformities with the words and spirit of the code of Ethics? Maybe the path is to resort to the courts seeking redress and indemnities, and also to harness the power and strength of social medias, including LinkedIn.
Please note this is not just a personal matter. By bringing this issue to the courts and to social medias, as well as fighting for my rights, I publicly exposed what the six-legged dog was trying to hide when it fired me. Sooner or later, the company will eventually be publicly identified as a “marketer of Ethics”. This kind of action is important to set an example and help to show that Ethics can’t be restricted to corporate speeches or to the companies’ websites.
But the impact of becoming a whistleblower had consequences both in my professional and personal life. The fight is quite idealistic, because the black box of corporate corruption turned me into a vetoed professional in the market and a man who lost financial retirement benefits paid by the government of my country. This is the risk!
But it is important to note that, if cases like mine are taken to the courts and to social medias, it is possible that honesty, integrity and transparency also reach quickly all companies…. For better or for worse!
Doing the right thing has a high price to pay, but I have no doubt that Ethics is always worth it!

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