We are the Ethics Ambassadors

On one of the Friday afternoons in September of 2016, a group of excited employees were sitting in front of their computers across the world listening as Per Lyrvall, Pontus Selderman and Professor Guido Palazzo kicked off the Ethics Ambassador program in a virtual meeting. They were about to embark on a vigorous training period to understand more about our Purpose and Values, compliance legislation and rules inside Stora Enso as well as learn to detect early signs of “Unethical decision making in organisations”: a seven week web course organized by the University of Lausanne and Professor Guido Palazzo, who is also facilitating the Ambassadors program together with Ethics and Compliance team.

​Now that the training of the ambassadors is done, it’s time for the actual work to begin. The Ethics Ambassadors consist of 127 employees in 25 countries, across all Divisions and tens of Group Functions. You can find the full list of Ethics Ambassadors from here. To find out why some of them have applied for the program and their views of it so far, let’s hear from themselves:

Ian Blanden, Director of Forestry Operations,
Guangxi, China

1. Why did you apply to the Ethics Ambassadors program?
Two reasons. Principally, I have a great interest in business ethics, given that many of my roles, including my current one, have dealt with complex ethical, compliance and governance issues. Secondly, I wanted to lead by example, and be an encouragement to our Stora Enso Guangxi staff. I am pleased to say that many of them also take part in the Ethics Ambassadors programme.

2. What have been the biggest learnings so far?
That even seemingly ethical companies can suffer from ethical blindness.

3. What are your thoughts on the Ethical Blindness course?
The course was very worthwhile, and I strongly encourage others to undertake it if given the opportunity. The issue of ethical blindness is real, and I have experienced the disastrous consequences first hand.

4. Have you already come across something you have been able to help your colleagues around you?
Despite there being many potential ethical and compliance issues associated with the business decisions we make on a daily basis, I like to emphasize to staff that this is what we are paid to do: We are paid to make decisions that are compliant. My view is that, just like OH&S and Sustainability, ethics and compliance is a fundamental responsibility of all managers, and not the sole jurisdiction of the ethics and compliance department.

Maria Ijas, Management Assistant and Communications,
Heinola Fluting Mill, Finland

1. Why did you apply to the Ethics Ambassadors program?
I have always been interested in “Do what’s right” thematic in my own life and of course at work! I’m responsible of our internal communications at Heinola Fluting Mill, so I thought that this would be a great addition to my responsibilities.

2. What have been the biggest learnings so far?
That there’s always someone in the company, to who you can talk confidentially about ethical issues, if you feel that there’s need for that. And we need to remember that people are not bad, they don’t do bad things because they are bad. It is very often case of ethical blindness.

3. What are your thoughts on the Ethical Blindness course?
The course was very interesting. The real business cases where absolutely the most interesting part of the course. At my point of view, I do need some more practice on the legal and ethical vocabulary. But that will come in time!

4. Have you already come across something you have been able to help your colleagues around you?
Yes, and that is why I remind you all, that there is always someone to who you can talk confidentially. Just give a call or email us Ethics Ambassadors, and we will find the right contact for you.

Anna Bloch, Executive Assistant,
Office Services, Ostroleka, Poland

1. Why did you apply to the Ethics Ambassadors program?
I think that one of the reasons for applying was the willingness to get more professionalism, the latest knowledge about the role of Values and Rules in business environment as well as in private life. Also to develop my own character, find out more on Stora Enso’s approach to ethical dimensions and learn what I could do at my own workplace environment to make difference. I think also that the Ethical Spotlight materials on WeShare encouraged me to take part as I like the content of it.

2. What have been the biggest learnings so far?
I would say the whole concept, analysis of factors of ethical blindness, in my opinion more from psychological point of view, was really challenging. Unbelievable, but each of us (good people) is vulnerable to make unethical decisions without being aware of it. Why? Good people simple deviate from their own values and principles as a result of the outside pressures created by strong context (immediate situation, organizational, institutional/ ideology etc.) in which they are embedded. Context can be stronger than people, than values, than reason.

3. What are your thoughts on the Ethical Blindness course?
By organizing such course Stora Enso demonstrates to all of us, and to stakeholders as well, that being Ethical is vital and that it is part of SE’s approach to business. Course itself is not easy to follow and complete in due time, touches many issues which require in depth self-studies , there is not enough time for networking, it would be good to discuss the material presented after each week in teams. Generally, the course was very well structure: informative, excellent set of material, very interesting questions, video material and valuable recap – real voyage of discovery.

4. Have you already come across something you have been able to help your colleagues around you?
For the time being I have only been involved in discussing the Spotlight material and finding the corner for this kind of material and sharing them with managers.

Heidi Saxell, R&D Manager, Innovation Center, Biomaterials,
Sweden

1. Why did you apply to the Ethics Ambassadors program?
I have always been interested about ethics and behavior. It is interesting to learn what drives individuals and organizations in decision making leading to actions taken. I felt that this course came just on a right moment to give some theory and tools to identify organizational risks in a freshly built team and organization such as ours here in Innovation Center in Biomaterials.

2. What have been the biggest learnings so far?
The fact that the working culture is one of the biggest risks in ending up making unethical and also harmful decisions for Stora Enso business. Further, that we need to react to any identified risks or unfair behavior in order to make sure we keep or create a good and safe work environment – the best environment for innovations and creating business.

3. What are your thoughts on the Ethical Blindness course?
This is a very good course and I wish that this would become part of our management training. I have recommended it to colleagues outside of the new Ethics Ambassadors course and know that some colleagues have completed the training.

4. Have you already come across something you have been able to help your colleagues around you?
The course has helped me a great deal in identifying which are for example ethical dilemmas and which are not. This was for me not so trivial, but makes my own decision making very straight forward. I hope that I have been able to direct a few colleagues to the right direction or person and encouraged to speak up. I also wish to be able to keep learning and start now more actively bringing the made learnings to my team and colleagues.

What can YOU do?

The Ambassadors are there specifically to help our employees with any ethical dilemmas they might face: Are you not sure what our Purpose and Values stand for? Do you not know what to do with a lavish gift you received? Have you suspected some misconduct on your workplace but are not sure who to contact? Or would you just want someone to discuss the current corruption news in the media with? These are all the sort of questions and requests that the Ambassadors are there to help you with. Don’t hesitate to contact them and contribute to making Stora Enso more ethical company.

Ethics and Compliance team

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