Emmanuel Lulin Chief Ethics Officer of corporate ethics leader L’Oreal addresses TINZ audiences

In these days of frequent high profile scandals showing depressing examples of integrity lapse in New Zealand and overseas, often lowering our cherished reputation, it is important to recognise organisations who do place a code of ethics at the pinnacle of their operations and by example show why it is important and worthwhile to do so.

TINZ L'Oreal Story Event. Ian Fraser interviewing Emmanuel Lulin

Emmanuel Lulin Chief Ethics Officer of corporate ethics leader L’Oreal interviewed by Ian Fraser

Fortunately we have many such examples in New Zealand eg the NZ Superannuation Fund. And recently we have had a visit by international shining light organisation L’Oreal, represented by their Senior Vice-President and Chief Ethics Officer Emmanuel Lulin. Emmanuel addressed a number of Transparency International New Zealand events in March and April, giving many examples of the core positioning of ethics and integrity in all aspects of the worldwide operations of L’Oreal, and the ways this strategy has had such positive results for their giant company.

  • L’Oreal has had an Ethics and Integrity focus for more than 30 years, with a formal code from 2006
  • They believe that their accounting methods must accurately show the true values of their ethics in all their operations and countries
  • L’Oreal have an ‘Ethics Day’ workshop every year for staff in all their 70+ countries of operation
  • Whistleblowers are encouraged to speak up at any time through an established channel without fear of retribution, with active open hearing and honest reporting and feedback in every case
  • ‘Trust’ is a central principle in all the company’s dealings from the highest to the lowest part of their operations, and adherence to these principles is tested by regular open staff forum in every location
  • The ways staff in every part of their company are bonded together by the respect and individual power and motivation this code gives them, brings a unity of purpose and focus which could not be created any other way
  • The universal language of ethics and integrity is proven as a break-through way of dealing with difficulties in so many differing cultures, languages and expectations, and gives them a solid non-negotiable platform to work from – no matter the complexity and pressure they are always on safe ground and never have to worry about challenges or local complexities, decisions are suddenly straightforward
  • If staff are sincerely applying these principles in their work, they will always be supported come what may
  • Four core principles: respect, integrity, courage and transparency.
  • ‘Without courage very little would happen. You need courage to speak up, and within any given organisation, that’s often not the virtue you find the most. You need courage to challenge the status quo.’
  • He credits their ethics strategy for multiplying the value of their brand by many times its previous potential – through this principled approach their next objective is to double their customer base from 900m to 2 billion.

Emmanuel was interviewed at length in one event by the well-known media communicator Ian Fraser, who subjected him to a rigorous questioning of the reality of this strategy, which was later opened to the audience’s questions – all answered with fascinating open straightforward examples - many very serious and complex -from L’Oreal’s experiences around the world.

Emmannuel’s final message? ‘Above all respect your consumers, their culture, your other stakeholders, your staff, your brand and your company’s true values. With ethics and integrity at the core, everything else will follow.’

L’Oreal’s regular glittering international awards for their ethical and principled business code of operation shows the esteem and recognition their stand has brought them around the world

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