Corporate Eye

Baxter — Treating Ethics As A Serious Corporate Issue

In my post Effective Corporate Ethics — More Than A Code Part 1 I indicated I would have  additional posts on Corporate Ethics.

Baxter, a major health care company, clearly displays its position on ethics. On the About Baxter page there is a link to Ethics (see right).

Including a link/reference to Ethics on About pages is a metric that the company is serious about Ethics.

Another Ethics indicator is this powerful statement in the company’s Ethics Code (PDF) (a must read):

Our Integrity
Baxter’s success is based on our personal accountability for results and integrity. Patients, doctors, customers, regulators, investors, and our employees count on the integrity of our work every day:

INTEGRITY in our work place
INTEGRITY in research and development
INTEGRITY in manufacturing
INTEGRITY in our products
INTEGRITY in sales and marketing
INTEGRITY in community relations

At Baxter, integrity means we are honest and fair. We keep our promises. We encourage questions. We value discussion, and we follow legal requirements. Integrity works here. Integrity wins here.

Next, click on the Ethics and Compliance icon or link and you are taken to a comprehensive view of Baxter’s Ethics Process–


I have repeatedly called for documents to be available in HTML format, now I find a good reason to have only PDF documents…

Baxter has its Code of Ethics in a number of languages: employees need to have a hard copy, so downloading the Code makes sense.

Baxter explains its Ethics Program in the Ethics and Compliance section and goes well beyond just posting an Ethics Code and whistleblowing helpline.

Here is what they cover–

  1. Baxter’s Procedures and Standards of Conduct
    1. Personal Responsibilities
    2. Manager’s Responsibilities
  2. Baxter’s Board of Directors and Vice President of Ethics and Compliance
  3. Education and Training
  4. Ethics and Compliance Communications and Investigations
    1. Communications and Reporting
    2. No Retaliation Policy
    3. Investigations
  5. Monitoring and Auditing
  6. Enforcing Standards/ Hiring and Disciplinary Action
  7. Correction and Preventative Action

This is very comprehensive and indicates that Baxter treats Ethics as a serious business issue.

Does your corporate site convey the same message?

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Ed Konczal has an MBA from New York University's Stern School of Business (with distinction). He has spent the last 10 years as an executive consultant focusing on human resources, leadership, market research, and business planning. Ed has over 10 years of top-level experience from AT&T in the areas of new ventures and business planning. He is co-author of the book "Simple Stories for Leadership Insight," published by University Press of America.