Science & Technology in Action

10th Edition

Compliance and Standards in Business


Business Studies
Religious Education
Ethical behaviour in business, no less than in everyday life, is often taken for granted but the consequences of unethical activity are so grave, as evidenced by the financial crash, that it is vital to set up compliance programmes that promote and support ethical behaviour at all levels of business.
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Lesson excerpt

What is Compliance & Ethics (C&E)? 
Business ethics: Business ethics are the moral principles that govern a business’s behaviour. Like other ethical companies, CRH has created a set of guiding principles that govern its business decisions. These principles guide all decisions made by the company and its employees. (See Ten Guiding Principles panel) 

Compliance: Compliance is the act of conforming to a company directive, rule, policy, or standard or law. A Code of Business Conduct (“Code”) helps the employees live up to the stated core values of integrity, honesty and respect for the law. The CRH Code may be downloaded from our-people/corporate-governance/codes-of-conduct 

What is the Foundation of C&E? 
Intentions, decisions, and actions may be “good” (or right) or “bad” (or wrong). Morality is the set of principles or standards that guide people in making right decisions. The principles may be based on a particular philosophy, religion, culture, etc. or on what a person believes should be universal, i.e. what should apply to everyone. 

Compliance Programmes 
Businesses should make it as easy as possible for employees to make right decisions. 

Compliance programmes within businesses are designed to create a culture of compliance, to identify and reduce the risk of breaching the law, and to remedy any breach that might occur. 

While unethical behaviour may yield short-term gain, the long-term implications include investigations, fines, reputational damage and even closures. Following major business catastrophes over the last forty years, legislation has been updated to improve transparency and raise ethical standards. 

Many companies now employ C&E officers to identify and reduce the risk of non-compliance. They ensure that C&E are embedded in business practices. 

True or False?

  1. Morality is the set of principles or standards that guide people in making right decisions. false
  2. The guiding principle of business decisions should be to increase profits. true
  3. Unethical decisions damage the reputation of businesses. false
  4. Moral principles are always based on religion. false
  5. Integrity means having different sets of principles for different situations. false
  6. Compliance and Ethics programmes operate in isolation from the rest of the organisation true
  7. Raising a genuine concern about possible wrongdoing or unethical behaviour is referred to as “good faith reporting”. true
  8. If a C&E programme is properly constructed it should not need to be changed. false
  9. An effective C&E Programme enhances the reputation of a business and reassures potential customers. true
  10. C&E Programmes apply to all levels in a business. true


In its 2012 Sustainability Report, CRH states that it ‘ has progressed and developed in all areas of sustainability and sought to…