This allowed companies like Siemens to gain the upper hand and have an unfair advantage over their competition in acquiring business deals around the world.
Share via Email Peter Y. Solmssen, general counsel for Siemens AG Photograph: Siemens AG Where might businesses make the biggest impact on sustainability? Traditional answers might be fuel consumption and carbon emissions, resource efficiency and waste management.
Solmssen, general counsel for Siemens AG, argues for a broader view of sustainability as something that underlies every aspect of global business culture.
It means clean water and clean air, but it also means having an economic system that works for everyone. It means having responsible citizens, both corporate and individual. It won't go where it's supposed to go.
But Siemens' culture of corruption extended far beyond the executive suite. As one German investigator later put it"bribery was Siemens' business model". In fact, the company even had a handy accounting euphemism for its bribes: The trouble was, the employees who knew the most about the company's bribery culture and methods were the same ones who were actually involved in it.
Changing Siemens' way of doing business would require enlisting help from the very employees who had the most to lose. He promised that anyone who came forward to admit their involvement in bribery would get full amnesty.
Not only wouldn't they be fired, but the company promised to help with any legal problems stemming from these admissions. On the other hand, those employees who didn't come forward, but were later found guilty of bribery, would be fired. Solmssen estimates that "about " employees came forward to admit their role in bribery and to explain where the money had gone.
According to Solmssen, Siemens' anti-corruption efforts have come with minimal cost. In fact, he claims, the company's bottom line has only grown. Clean business is good business.
Siemens' internal efforts notwithstanding, Solmssen is quick to point out that corruption is a global problem — and one that requires a global solution. Speaking of General Electricwhere he previously worked, Solmssen notes that, although his old company and Siemens "compete vigorously all around the world," they have a deep well of shared values.
I call it the Cartel of the Good. If we cooperate, then there is no bribery. Later this week, he will address global business cooperation at the UN Global Compact Leaders Summitwhich he says itself is "an example of good companies combining to make their environments better". Despite the success of Siemens' anti-bribery efforts, Solmssen is quick to note that the problem still exists.
The bribery-related fallout — and court proceedings — continues. You close one door and they try to get through another.Siemens use of bribery initially could have been justified by the fact that German laws allowed it and was not illegal until ; the issue was that Siemens continued to use bribery even after the law had changed.
Corruption was deeply embedded in the business culture. Dec 21, · Corruption helped to build Siemens, but also cost it $ billion, the largest fine for bribery in modern corporate history. If a manager at Siemens would have stood up and took a stand against corruption, I think that he/she would have most likely been fired for being insubordinate.
The higher executives that were promoting such bribery would have wanted these managers to go along with what they were doing. Supply Chain Management Supply Chain Management. Contact. Search Search term(s) Search. Site Explorer Site Explorer.
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Siemens is well versed in the high cost of corruption: in , following a string of high-profile bribery scandals, it agreed to a record $bn legal settlement with American and European. Siemens Argentina pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA and Siemens Venezuela and Siemens Bangladesh each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the anti-bribery and books and records provisions of the FCPA.