MAPI Company in the News: Praxair, Inc.
This fall, MAPI conducted a study to understand and evaluate our members' ethics programs, including best practices on developing, implementing, and sustaining a culture of commitment.
We interviewed six member companies across the Human Resources, Ethics & Compliance, Risk Management, Internal Audit, and CFO councils. We heard about programs from the best of the best. All companies interviewed had been recipients of Ethisphere Institute’s “2018 World’s Most Ethical Companies Award." This award was given to 135 companies across 23 countries and 57 industries. In this post, we highlight Praxair. Their employees strongly embrace ethical behavior across the workforce and deeply ingrain it into their everyday work.
We talked with both Matt White, senior vice president and chief financial officer, and Fabricio Nunes, assistant general counsel and chief compliance officer, about their ethics program and the facets that set it apart from other programs. As expected, all of the companies we interviewed had very strong programs but Praxair’s had one unique component - The Chairman’s Ethics Award Program.
Established by Steve Angel, Praxair chairman and chief executive officer, Praxair’s value-based system and global code of conduct have been in place for over 15 years. According to White, when Steve Angel joined the company in 2004, “he focused on safety and built a world-class program around it. He then applied the same principles to building a foundation for a culture of compliance, diversity, sustainability and doing the right thing."
Angel came up with the idea of establishing the award program four years ago, according to Nunes. “It recognizes the good that people are doing. It’s all about sharing what is going right.”
“In the Praxair culture, everyone is accountable for doing the right thing and Angel wanted to focus on this in a positive way,” said Nunes. “His belief is that the tone at the top and the mid-level is really important. He wanted to start to recognize people who set positive examples for the rest of the employees. He doesn’t present very many awards so it shows the employees that the program is very important.” According to Nunes, employees receive the award for demonstrating ethical leadership, navigating through difficult situations, or going the extra mile to make compliance top of mind. Through a nomination program, the top three finalists are presented to Angel and he makes the final selection. When we asked about examples, Nunes shared that last year, the head of Mexican Operations won because “He brought in outside counsel to talk about the risk of anti-corruption and how it can affect the economy. He really helped employees understand the repercussions of not complying and benefits of complying. He made a difference.”
Winning recognition as one of the world’s most ethical companies reflects Praxair’s leadership and commitment to the ethical business standards and practices it sets globally. Congratulations to Steve Angel, Matt White, Fabricio Nunes, and the Praxair family on being a two-time recipient of Ethisphere Institute’s 2018 World’s Most Ethical Companies Award.
Ethisphere Institute is a global leader in defining and advancing the standards of ethical business practices.