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The IE Compliance Club: A student led initiative that fosters ethical business practices for a sustainable society

compliance-club

The IE Compliance Club, founded by a group of students of the Master in Global Corporate Compliance, seeks to foster discussions that are the basis of ethical organizations and sustainable societies.

Paulo Santos (Brazil), Aaisha Mohamed Anees (Dubai), Estefani Morelli (Colombia), Ryan Winkler (USA) and Elene Jgerenaia (Georgia), came together earlier this year to found the IE Compliance Club. With diverse backgrounds– from law and political sciences to business and finance– these five LL.M. students share the same convictions that drive sustainability and ethics in organizations and society.

“The Club was founded with the purpose of fostering discussions on areas touching compliance (e.g., corruption, money laundering, cybersecurity, corporate governance, fraud, forensics and equality) as well as transparency, independence, and accountability. We believe that ethical business practices, alongside integrity, are the basis of a sustainable society, therefore we want to encourage the maintenance of long-term value-driven culture”, they explain.

We applaud students’ initiatives that step up to show their convictions and leadership. Know more about their activities and mission.

 

What is the purpose of the club?

As student leaders, we are aware that we are the future of sustainable development and global transformation, and we put this responsibility at the forefront of activities, events and projects of the Club. We have adopted three of 17 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into our club’s strategy: 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure), 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions) and 17 (Partnerships for the Goals).

 

What kind of activities does the club coordinate?

Our club was launched in February 2020, and right when we were preparing ourselves to come up with activities, which were then applicable to the world we had, we were hit by the Covid-19 pandemic and had to readjust to the new reality as everyone else. Resilience, compassion, and mindfulness are at the heart of everything we are doing during the present crisis. We are taking action to keep the community active and creating an environment to mentor others while getting them to make the most of their time. It is an honor to contribute to society at large during this difficult time.

We have organized webinars with prestigious guest speakers to discuss important compliance-related topics. For instance, we brought industry leaders to debate the financial, sustainable, and regulatory dimensions of the Covid-19 problems, the emergence of anti-corruption and compliance standards in Latin America, the effects of this pandemic on shipping and international trade as well as the interplay of privacy and public interest in Europe and in the Americas during Covid-19.

Moreover, weekly newsletters are one of our new initiatives. These initially started to help students and faculty during their time at home during the lockdown but have now become our most important tool to communicate and create conversation on corporate risk, governance and global issues. We send them out every Friday, and also recommend movies, books, podcasts, real-life cases and news related to compliance.

“As student leaders, we are aware that we are the future of sustainable development and global transformation, and we put this responsibility at the forefront of activities, events and projects of the Club”

Currently, we are working on an ethics case-based challenge for students around the world and reaching out to companies. The challenge is focused on dealing with ethical dilemmas in the workplace. Most importantly, we acknowledge the current demise the world is facing and want to give back to help and heal the people in need. This is why we aim to raise money during the challenge for a Covid-19-related donation we would like to make on behalf of the club.

 

What is the impact of student led initiatives and cross-collaboration between different schools?

IE’s mission is to promote innovation, integrity and excellence in students, which is what led us to create the club. Despite our new presence in IE, we have collaborated with various departments and clubs – including Global Transformation Club, E-Commerce Club, Talent & Careers, IEU Law Society, Finance & Capital Markets Club, and many more.

Our initiatives, just like the other clubs, have integrated IE’s values into practice. We are not just reaching for operational excellence, we are trying to impact students by creating unique and high-quality opportunities for the community, and expand our reach to students from all schools. That is why we lead through diversity. Take our club, for instance. Our team’s background ranges from law, compliance and political sciences to business and finance. We know first hand the need to interact with people who you can learn from and teach to.

 

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The team in their virtual meetings. “Resilience, compassion, and mindfulness are at the heart of everything we are doing during the present crisis. We are taking action to keep the community active”, they say.

What is the impact of compliance in business and society today?

It depends on how compliance is addressed. If you simply take the meaning of the word, it is quite obvious that compliance entails a necessity to comply with something – generally applicable laws, regulations and rules. Therefore, by establishing mechanisms and following certain steps arising from applicable requirements, organizations may decrease their risk of receiving fines, penalties and sanctions from governments and authorities or of being unfavourably exposed to the public perception, whereas society does not suffer the negative consequences generated by those who are non-compliant.

Financial institutions operating in Member States of the European Union may be used as a clear example. As you can imagine, banks and money transfer businesses, for instance, are subject to laws requiring them to establish a program based on a risk assessment that is put in place to avoid money from being laundered or used to finance terrorism. In a nutshell, in case these financial institutions are successful in setting up a well put together – as opposed to paper based – framework to prevent, detect and mitigate these activities, they will follow their normal course of business, foster a sound reputation, and the fuel for drug dealers, terrorists, illegal arms dealers, corrupt public officials, and others to operate and expand their criminal enterprises will be suspended, which is good for society at large.

However, the simple creation of a code of conduct, policies, procedures and a few other controls will hardly result in the expected outcome. In the short-run, it might be a good start. However, compliance needs to be seen as a long-term, ever evolving project that deals with the underlying culture, purpose and perception of organizations from both public and private sectors.

So if we see compliance from a broader perspective, as something greater than a mere check-the-box business area, which is what we study at IE Law School, it is a remedy to many of the fundamental issues that have been plaguing society. A proper tool with the potential of creating long-term, sustainable results, reducing instability while leveraging social and economic growth in our global, complex and uncertain world.