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CORPORATE WHISTLEBLOWING IN EMEA & APAC RISES SIGNIFICANTLY BUT STILL BELOW GLOBAL LEVELS; RESPONSE TIMES DELAYED, FINDS NAVEX GLOBAL BENCHMARK REPORT

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CORPORATE WHISTLEBLOWING IN EMEA & APAC RISES SIGNIFICANTLY BUT STILL BELOW GLOBAL LEVELS; RESPONSE TIMES DELAYED, FINDS NAVEX GLOBAL BENCHMARK REPORT
  • Significant rise in EMEA & APAC reporting rates per 100 employees, doubling the reporting rate  from 2015
  • Time taken to investigate and resolve a reported incident increases to a median of 46 days from 37 in just two years 

Ethics and compliance software and services leader NAVEX Global® today released its 2017 EMEA & APAC Ethics & Compliance Whistle-blowing Hotline & Incident Management Benchmark Report.

The report finds that whistle-blowing rates across EMEA and APAC firms have doubled from 2015 to 2016, raising the median rate of reporting from 0.2 to 0.4 reports per 100 employees. This may indicate that firms in EMEA and APAC will experience a similar growth in reporting volumes to those previously seen in US-based organisations. However, despite this strong upward trend, reporting rates in EMEA and APAC still lag significantly behind those found in other parts of the world where globally, NAVEX Global reports a median reporting rate of 1.4 reports per 100 employees.

The report also found that from 2014 to 2016, the median case closure time – the time it takes to investigate and resolve reported incidents or cases – has risen from 37 to 46 days (a rise of over 24 percent) indicating that the current level of report volume increases are already putting a strain on existing investigative and response resources.

“This report tells us that firms in EMEA & APAC need to assess their ethics and compliance hotline programme response planning to ensure that they are able to handle the continuing increases expected in the volume of reports,” said Carrie Penman, Chief Compliance Officer & SVP Advisory Services at NAVEX Global. “We can see it takes too long to investigate and resolve ethics and compliance issues after a report is made. This will have a detrimental effect on employee morale, productivity and organisational culture. Firms should focus their attention on closing cases within the recommended 30 day average timeframe in order to reinforce confidence among workers that their concerns are being taken seriously.”

The low reporting rates across EMEA and APAC when compared with global figures also indicates that ongoing focus is needed to consistently foster a ‘speak-up’ culture. Penman added “the fact that reporting volumes are still well below global volumes suggests organisations based in EMEA & APAC still have work to do to increase employee confidence to ‘speak-up’ on different issues. A key area of focus over the coming years should be the further development of employees’ awareness of their access to hotline reporting programmes, thereby improving their knowledge of how and where to submit reports of workplace concerns.” In addition, Penman said, “I encourage organisational leaders to examine their perspectives and key messages on the acceptability of internal reporting within organisations to assure employees that they do want to hear about concerns.”

The report also found that anonymous reporting is 5 percentage points higher in EMEA and APAC than the global average, providing further evidence that more must be done to increase employee confidence that it is acceptable to raise concerns around workplace misconduct.

“Firms have the opportunity to use the data in their hotline and incident management systems to make a positive difference in their ethics and compliance programmes and their organisational cultures. Regular, effective analysis of this information will help them answer crucial questions about their programmes and also provide an early warning system of potential problem locations or operations,” concluded Carrie Penman.

To download NAVEX Global’s 2017 EMEA & APAC Ethics & Compliance Whistle-blowing Hotline & Incident Management Benchmark Report follow the link here.

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Bitcoin, ether hit fresh highs

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Bitcoin, ether hit fresh highs 1

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Bitcoin hit a fresh high in Asian trading on Saturday, extending a two-month rally that saw its market capitalisation cross $1 trillion a day earlier.

The world’s most popular cryptocurrency rose to an record $56,620, taking its weekly gain to 18%. It has surged more than 92% this year.

Bitcoin’s gains have been fuelled by evidence it is gaining acceptance among mainstream investors and companies, such as Tesla Inc, Mastercard Inc and BNY Mellon.

Ether, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization and daily volume, hit a record $2,040.62, for a weekly gain of about 12%.

Ether is the digital currency or token that facilitates transactions on the ethereum blockchain. In the crypto world, the terms ether and ethereum have become interchangeable.

Ether futures contracts launched on derivatives exchange CME earlier this month.

(Reporting by Vidya Ranganathan; Editing by William Mallard)

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World Bank pushing for standard vaccine contracts, more disclosure from makers

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World Bank pushing for standard vaccine contracts, more disclosure from makers 2

By Andrea Shalal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The World Bank is working to standardize COVID-19 vaccine contracts that countries are signing with drug makers, and is pushing manufacturers to be more open about where doses are headed, as it races to get more vaccines to poor countries, the bank’s president said on Friday.

World Bank President David Malpass told Reuters he expected the bank’s board to have approved $1.6 billion in vaccine funding for 12 countries, including the Philippines, Bangladesh, Tunisia and Ethiopia, by the end of March, with 30 more to follow shortly thereafter.

The bank is working with local governments to identify and fill gaps in distribution capacity, after they purchase vaccines under a $12 billion World Bank program, and also to standardize the contracts they are signing with manufacturers, he said.

The bank’s International Finance Corp, its private financing arm, has $4 billion to invest in expanding existing production plants or building new ones, including in developed countries, but needs more data on where current production is headed, he said.

“We are eager to be investing in new capacity, but it’s hard to do because you don’t know how much of the existing capacity is already committed to the various off-takers,” Malpass said in an interview with Reuters. New or expanded plants could be used to produce other types of vaccinations in the future, he said.

The bank’s funds could be used to expand plants in advanced economies, if the production was earmarked for developing nations, he said.

Malpass welcomed Friday’s pledge by the Group of Seven rich countries to intensify cooperation on the pandemic, saying it could help jump-start deliveries of vaccines to poorer countries, which are lagging far behind rich countries in getting shots in arms.

Data compiled by Our World In Data, a scientific online publication, showed Israel was leading the world in COVID-19 vaccinations, with nearly 82 of 100 people vaccinated, while India and Bangladesh reported less than one person per 100, Many African countries have not started at all.

Malpass said he was heartened by news about new vaccines coming down the road, and about Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE seeking permission to store their vaccine at higher temperatures, which would ease another obstacle to deliveries in lower-income countries.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Heather Timmons and Leslie Adler)

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Google to evaluate executive performance on diversity, inclusion

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Google to evaluate executive performance on diversity, inclusion 3

By Paresh Dave

(Reuters) – Alphabet Inc’s Google will evaluate the performance of its vice presidents and above on team diversity and inclusion starting this year, the company said on Friday in one of several responses to concerns about its treatment of a Black scientist.

Timnit Gebru, co-leader of Google’s ethical artificial intelligence research team, said in December that Google abruptly fired her after she criticized its diversity efforts and threatened to resign.

Alphabet and Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai ordered a review of the situation. While Google declined to share specific findings, the company announced on Friday it will engage human resources specialists during sensitive employee departures.

Pichai in June said that by 2025, Google aims to have 30% more of its leaders come from underrepresented groups, with a focus on Black, Latinx and Native American leaders in the United States and female technical leaders globally. About 96% of Google’s U.S. leaders at the time were white or Asian, and 73% globally were men.

As a result of the investigation, the company also expanded a commitment announced in June to devote more resources to retaining and promoting existing employees, including by expanding a team addressing disputes among workers and their managers.

The diversity component of executive performance reviews was not previously announced, and the company did not immediately share details about what would be measured and how pay would be affected.

Alphabet for years had rejected proposals from shareholders and employees to set diversity goals and tie executive pay to them.

Irene Knapp, a former Google employee who advocated for one such proposal at a 2018 shareholder meeting, said on Friday, “I am pleased that they met our demand from 2018, which was a bare minimum that should have been easy to do immediately.”

Evaluating managers on diversity goals is becoming more commonplace. McDonald’s Corp on Thursday tied executive bonuses to diversity.

(Reporting by Paresh Dave; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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