Ethical Conduct And Behaviour Commerce Essay


Ethical conduct not only involves the right thing to do which comply with the legal laws and regulations, but it also benefits the business itself and it contributes to the long-term success of the organization. An organization that follows the right ethical conduct promotes a strong public image and help to gain respect from the public. By gaining the trust from the public and clients, it will bring in more businesses as clients would choose to deal with organization that they are able to trust. Besides gaining the trust from clients, it also makes vendors believes in the company, thus building a good and trusting relationship between the company and its vendors. In addition, having an ethical code of conduct for employees also helps to maintain productivity and quality, ensuring that they do not cut corners or short-change its clients or the company as they have to comply with the ethical standards. This would also help to increase the morale and encourages teamwork among employees as they are able to trust one another and the management, thereby working together more effectively and harmoniously.

Code of Business Ethics

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JLL commits to a corporate culture that embraces and place strong emphasis on business and professional ethics at every level. It is the basic responsibility of every individual employee to strictly adhere to a standard ethical behavior. JLL ensure that all the employees, officers and directors under its organization, including LaSalle Investment Management and its other subsidiaries, JLL or the Company, to properly conduct and behave themselves with integrity, and acting in full compliance with the global laws and regulations. With this, JLL has established its own company standards of business practices and regulatory compliance that is set out in the Code of Business Ethics. This Code of Business Ethics is a reflection of the company's value, mission and strategy, commitment and responsibilities to ethical business practices and regulatory compliance, and guides the interaction with all its stakeholders including employees, clients, vendors, marketplace, shareholders and the communities and governments in countries where they conduct business. The company places a great emphasis on ethical behavior, thereby sending a strong message to employees, making it clear that there is always an expectation in how they should behave in their day-to-day business dealings.

Although JLL acknowledges that compliance with the Ethical Code may occasionally place the company in a disadvantage competitive position, for instance, other competitors might offers gifts to clients which is prohibited under the JLL Ethical Code. Nevertheless, JLL also recognizes that complying with the ethical standards would bring the company long-term value to its employees, clients and shareholders than any benefit that may be gained by conceding its integrity in the short-term. JLL's Code of Business Ethics aims to highlight key issues, establishes principles and identifies the policies and resources for making good judgment and reaching sound decisions that will make employees, shareholders and JLL proud.

JLL has designated a Global Chief Ethics Officer and Regional Ethics Officers whom stakeholders from around the global can contact if they have any enquiry or concerns with regards to the Code. Though the Code of Business Ethics might be comprehensive, it could not possibly include every situation that employees might face. Thus, if employees have doubt on whether certain actions might have violated the Code, they can always contact the Ethics Officers to enquire and they will be advised on how to handle the ethical situations properly.

As part of JLL's Individual Performance Management Program (IPMP), all employees, officers and directors are required to reaffirm their commitment to the company's ethics and corporate policies annually during the performance review period. This is to further emphasize on the importance on complying with the Code, and act as a reminder to the various stakeholders on their responsibilities. Furthermore, in order to be eligible to receive any bonus, it is a must for employees to act in compliance with the Business Code. If employees fail to adhere to any of the provisions in the Code, the company has the rights to eliminate or reduce his or her bonus. In serious situations, employees might be suspend, terminate or dismiss from the job in order to protect the best interest of the company and to its various stakeholders.

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*The Code of Business Ethics can be found in Appendix A.

Vendor Code of Conduct

Besides the Code of Business Conduct that should be strictly adhere by all its employees, officers and directors, JLL would also expect that all the vendors that they deal with would also conduct its business with integrity. The definition of "vendor" includes and individual or firms that provides a service or product to JLL or indirectly to any of its clients. Although vendors are seen as independent entities, however the way they conduct their business may be seen as a reflection of how JLL conduct its business, causing its reputation at stake. The company still carries the risks to its own brand, reputation, client relationships and bottom line for its vendor's behaviour in many engagements with its clients.

With this, the management and employees of JLL are responsible to ensure that all vendors and their employees, agents, subcontractors and consultants that they engage in adhere to the Vendor Code of Conduct while they are conducting business with, or on behalf of JLL. Other than protecting the company's reputation, it also acts to the best interest and benefits of their clients.

*The Vendor Code of Conduct can be found in Appendix B.

Consistent Ethical Standards

It might seen that it is challenging for JLL to maintain its ethical standards as they are operating in many different business environment, however they ensure that the ethical standards and behavior are consistent across the company, regardless of the regions. Due to the fact that being a global company, people are moving regularly between different regions and operations, thus it is not appropriate to confuse the employees by telling them that these values are important in one context, but otherwise in another. In addition, the clients of JLL are also global companies, thus they would expect the same operation standards around the globe, regardless of which regions they are dealing with them.

Major Initiatives to Promote Ethical Conduct

One of the initiatives used to promote ethical conduct in JLL is the Code of Business Ethics which covers issues as to how the company should properly treat and be responsible to the various stakeholders. The Code is regularly updated and reinforced throughout the company that must be strictly adhered to by all employees, officers and even directors.

Besides the Code which sets out a guideline, JLL takes pride in how employees perceive commitment to ethical business decisions and conduct. With this, it emphasizes on providing ethics training and education to its employees. The team of Ethics Officers is tasked to conduct regular workshops. These workshops can be case study-based where the partakers observe what has occurred, what to avoid, and how to apply the expected standards in that particular situation.  This type of case study-based discussion is useful in highlighting expected behavior and preparing employees if they face similar situation. In addition, Ethics Officers also provide in-person training on anti-corruption policies and procedures. In 2011, around 3,800, or roughly 8% of the employees have benefitted from this.

However, there are no fool-proof system to ensure that all employees will obey to the ethical standards as it all voice down to people's behavior, and it is not possible for the company to manipulate every individual's behavior. Consistent education, training, induction and appraisals might act as reinforcement, however all these might have a greater impact on employees if they are conducted by senior management. The CEO of JLL, Colin Dyer, has spent a considerably amount of time to address the employees on ethical issues. He believes that if the CEO does not embody these ethical values, the employees will not believe that the organization is serious about it.

Through all these efforts, JLL has shown good performance on it ethical performance. During the past six years, JLL is not involved in any anti-competitive behavior, anti-trust or monopoly practices. In addition, there have been no significant monetary fines or non-monetary sanctions for non-compliance with any laws and regulations.

Most Ethical Company

With JLL efforts to promote and sustain business ethics and behavior among employees and its vendors, it has been named as the "World's Most Ethical Companies" in 2012 for having a excellent employee and leadership culture that promotes ethical business practices. This is the fifth consecutive year (2008 - 2012) that JLL has been awarded this title by Ethisphere Institute, a leading global organization dedicated to the creation, advancement and sharing of best practices focused on business ethics, anti-corruption, corporate social responsibility and sustainability. The nominated companies involved more than 100 countries and 36 industries and winners were selected through in-depth research and multi-step analysis. The methodology for the selection includes reviewing the business code of ethics; litigation checks and regulatory infringement histories; appraising business innovation and sustainable practices; examining activities designed for corporate citizenship improvements; and reviewing nominations from senior executives, suppliers, industry peers and clients. The nominated winners performed well in developing a strong ethics program as part of its successful business model, and they continue to examine their ethical standards to keep up with an ever-changing regulatory environment. In addition, JLL's Global General Counsel and Chief Ethics Officer, Mark Ohringer, was also nominated by Ethisphere as one of the world's 100 most Influential People in Business Ethics in 2011.

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JLL view its commitment to business as an essential part of the company's culture which makes them a company that "the most talented people want to work for, and clients want to work with, companies they trust". JLL recognizes the vital role that ethical business practices play in branding a company's reputation, which is the most valuable asset for a corporation. It is the efforts of its worldwide team of Ethics Officers and commitment of all the employees around the globe whose integrity differentiates JLL services from the rest of the real estate firms. This provides JLL with a competitive advantage as good ethical conduct translate to better business, leading to greater profits.

Benefits of Being Ethical

Drives Revenues

JLL's ethical business practice is a major factor that drives revenues as its ethical practice helps to gained market trust. Trust of a client is an important asset to a service organization, especially in the real estate industry where they are task to handle valuable property assets or transactions. JLL recognized that its clients are increasingly placing emphasis on how they will handle their matters ethically. For instance, JLL will not bribe any government representatives who are in connection with developing, managing or selling their real estate. JLL believes that acting ethically on a consistent basis will be recognized over time, and the company will benefit by attracting the best kinds of business and the best clients.

Giving Comfort to Stakeholders

Investors have realized the significant monetary losses resulted from frauds at companies, with some major past examples like WorldCom, Enron and Tyco. With this, money managers are becoming more cautious and would only put their money with companies that seek to conduct business in a transparent and ethical manner. JLL ethical business practice which is further affirmed by Ethisphere has certainly helped in giving comfort to all stakeholders.

Attracting and Retaining Talents

Employees are reluctant to work for organizations that are involved in significant acts of corruption as it may disrupt their careers or they may be dragged into the situation as innocent parties. Given a choice, people will prefer to work for companies that are able to maintain an ethical environment. Thus, JLL's effort to maintain its ethical standard is a critical human capital recruitment tool which helps to attract and retain talents, at all level of the company.

Preparation of Business Continuity

Many organizations do not have business continuity planning as they are overly confident with their existing strategies and they do not recognize the need and importance of having one. JLL recognizes that crisis and disasters can come in many forms and in most occasions, they come as a surprise. It is often difficult to prepare for such unpredictable situation as it is not possible to foresee when it will strike, thus, it is vital to continuously improve the business continuity plan and constantly revisit and refine to suit the changing conditions. It is noted that a lack of business continuity plan has caused many businesses to collapse in times of crisis and disasters.

JLL has performed well in its business continuity planning, especially in the Asia Pacific where it has been strike with a sequence devastating natural disasters in recent years. This would include the floods in Australia in late 2010 and early 2011; a 7.0-magnitude earthquake in New Zealand in September 2010; Japan's 9.0-magnitude Tohoku earthquake in March 2011; Thailand's floods in early-2011. These natural disasters not only cost lives, they also caused many buildings to collapse, causing serious damages to properties.

JLL has operations in all these countries and thus all these disasters have a significant impact on its business operations. These disasters often caused disruptions to the infrastructure such as communications, electricity, transportations, etc. that supports the operations of businesses, and thus having an adverse impact on the global business.

With this, JLL has partnered and worked closely with the various stakeholders in preparation for these unpredictable disasters and seek to reinstate properties to operational order in the soonest time possible. In many instances, the property and facility management teams have assist clients in minimizing damage, undertaking recovery works and implementing plans to alleviate the risk of any future disasters.

We will now examine how JLL's business continuity plans fare in events of disasters.

Developing a Team with Multiple Skills

It is definitely a challenge to develop contingency planning for all the unpredictable disaster situations and catastrophes. Therefore, it is essential for companies to be equipped with the ability to react quickly to these situations with effective solutions. JLL has gathered a crisis management team with a wide variety of skill sets and diverse expertise necessary to deliver the best outcome. For instance, in the event of the Christchurch floods, JLL had created a multi-skilled team that managed to source and construct a temporary site, thereby restoring business operation to normality in the shortest time.

Working Closely with Various Partners

As part of the business continuity plan during event of disasters, it is important that a company have an agreement in place with the preferred suppliers. This will allow them to prepare and allocate needed resources in event of emergency which will helps to lessen site closure time as it reduces the length of negotiations during crisis. In addition, it is also essential to build a close working relationships across the different property disciplines within the company, such as between the project managers and facilities managers as it will accelerate the site restoration process after the crisis. The connectivity between landlords and tenants and the ability to mobilize teams to undertake fit-out work also helps to compress timelines significantly. Furthermore, having the capability to leverage knowledge and resources across sites also ensure operational readiness as quickly as possible.

JLL has performed well during the Queensland floods where they are able to secure short-term accommodation for clients in the shortest time with these agreements in place.

Incorporating Short-Term Flexibility

Real estate mangers are good at preparing long-term, strategic plan, typically over a 3 years planning horizon. However, they might be caught short and incapable to implement tactical responses in situations of crisis. JLL has learned through the recent disasters for the need to integrate short-term flexibility and tactical plans into their long-term real estate strategy. In event of emergency where there is a need to acquire or dispose space quickly, a short-term contingency plan can help to save significant money and time. JLL requires its teams to develop short-term tactical plan for each 12-month period under its long-term strategic plan, allowing flexibility during unpredictable circumstances.

Preparation is Critical

The best practice management for crisis or disasters is to be prepared. These recent disasters shows are organizations across the regions are under-prepared. JLL recognize that having a robust business continuity plan will help in accelerating decision making process and lessening the impact to property and business. A number of tools can be incorporated in disaster recovery plans, such as escalation processes; detailed site information checklists; post-disaster inspection checklists; operational readiness checklists; post-disaster re-occupation checklists; disaster readiness guides; post-disaster guides. When developing a business continuity plan, it is also important to keep the plan up-to-date, tested and properly communicated across the business.

As there is no one-size-fits-all solution, facility management teams need to be well prepared to adapt to circumstances that change very speedily. One method is to make use of past experiences to develop processes which will enable the team to swiftly respond to crisis or disaster events and minimize the damage to property. Therefore, in order to be prepared thoroughly for all potentials disasters and be more pre-emptive in constructing disaster resilience for the future, it is important for facility managers to identify and understand the key issues and apply what they have learnt to practice.

Environment and Sustainability

With an increasing environment sustainability challenge, commercial real estate is now recognized as crucial in the fight against global environmental issues relating to resource depletion, climate change, production of greenhouse gases and carbon footprint. According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), it is estimated that buildings are responsible for 40% of energy use, one-third of greenhouse emissions and 30% of raw material use. With this, real estate organizations have the duty to respond to these challenges and be responsible towards ensuring environmental sustainability. Organizations can contribute by integrating environmental and sustainability practices into their business model, similar to what JLL has done. JLL incorporated Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) into their business model and it is define as the "actions we take to promote and protect the environmental, social and economic interests of future generations". JLL's CSR aims to contribute to the prosperity and sustainability of the world over the long term.

JLL is committed to develop business practice, policies and services, determining to be responsible for the environmental, social and economic impacts of its operations. JLL aspires to fulfill this by partnering with clients and collaborating with competitors and other organizations across the industry with regard to addressing these environmental challenges.

JLL has established a CSR and sustainability that focuses on two main pillars: (1) Energy and Sustainability Services (ESS) for its clients and (2) Internal CSR Program, which seeks to reduce its own operational impact. However, this paper will only examine JLL's Internal CSR Program.

Internal CSR Program

JLL aims to promote sustainability within its own internal offices and homes by reducing the carbon footprint through: (1) A Cleaner Tomorrow program, (2) Greener IT Solutions and (3) its Sustainability University.

A Cleaner Tomorrow

In 2008, JLL initiates a companywide program, A Cleaner Tomorrow (ACT), in an effort to educate all its employees on environmental conscious issues and engage them in actions that they can put into good use at work and in their daily lives. Furthermore, it aims to change employees' attitude towards energy consumption and emphasize on how individual efforts will help in contributing to a more sustainable workplace. ACT aims to reduce JLL's own energy consumption and carbon emissions, and also increase in recycling and reducing water usage. The program identifies and introduces new sustainability and energy management initiatives in its offices around the world.

During 2011, JLL is involved in over 170 ACT initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption in its office. These initiatives contributed to reducing its carbon footprint to 49,000 metric tons CO2 emission.

In Australia, reducing greenhouse gas emissions initiatives includes promoting energy efficiency through employee awareness campaign, as well as an upgrade to energy efficient lighting and automatic lighting controls. In Canada, ACT initiative is fulfilled by decreasing transport of documents through utilizing electronic delivery wherever possible or couriering documents in batches instead of ad hoc.

Greener IT Solutions

It is known that large professional services enterprises uses IT which is a major contributor to carbon footprint. Thus, JLL established the best IT practice to incorporate sustainability program in an attempt to lessen energy consumption from technology.

From the periods between 2008-2011, JLL has eliminated 520 servers and redeployed 2,250 PCs, resulting in around 3,125 metrics tons of CO2 savings and $450,200 in energy cost savings. In addition, JLL has put in place procurement policies to ensure that all new PCs and notebooks are accredited with high energy efficiency, such as ENERGY STAR.

It is estimated that from these activities, the CO2 savings is comparable to the energy consumption of 1,200 homes for a year.

Sustainability University

JLL formed its Sustainability University in 2008 as part of its Global Sustainability Commitment. It provides a training platform for employees who would like to have a basic or sophisticated understanding of sustainability. It aims to educate employees and clients with best practice training and technical knowledge, which involves presentations from subject matter experts on green building topics and trends. Through promoting the relationship between sustainability and real estate, JLL hopes that employees are able to apply what they have learned to their jobs.

The University has continues to gain its strength with an increase in attendees at the training sessions from 1,194 in 2010 to 2,619 in 2011. The sustainability sessions are conducted monthly with a wide range of topics from energy management, to updates on Energy and Sustainability Services business, to internal CSR issues.

In addition, the University also emphasizes on promoting energy and sustainability services to its clients such as LEED® certification projects and Green Globes portfolio sustainability management. JLL set to achieve 1,000 accredited professionals with LEED®, BREEAM, ABGR, Green Star, etc. by the end of 2012, however it managed to surpassed it initial goal by achieving it in end of 2011, a year earlier than its predicted time. These 1,000 accredited professionals was an increase from 624 professionals at end of 2010. This commitment of sustainability to the real estate industry has expanded the reach of accredited professionals to 29 countries.