'Risk, culture and ethics' were the subjects of a day-long seminar...

'Risk, culture and ethics' were the subjects of a day-long seminar, jointly hosted by AIRMIC and the Institute of Internal Auditors at the City Conference Centre, London in April. Speakers discussed the need for companies to consider the cultural and ethical dimension of risk management, with practical examples of how this can work in practice. Presenters included Dr Deborah Pretty, principal of Oxford Metrica, Chris Beresford, chairman of the Institute of Business Ethics, and Andy Bulgin, group risk manager at Coca-Cola HBC (CCHBC).

Bulgin described the experiences of his own organisation in addressing international cultural and ethical risks. The company is Coke's third largest core bottling plant and operates in 26 countries in central and eastern Europe with a workforce of about 26,000 people.

The aim, said Bulgin, is to link CCHBC's ethical and cultural approach with its business objectives. The principal means are standards and legal compliance, a behavioural code and development of people. Ethical/cultural and risk management initiatives extend from the workplace to the market, the community and the environment, including compliance with independent standards.

"The ethical and cultural challenges within CCHBC are significant but not unique. Overcoming these challenges has involved focus on the creation of an appropriate framework of standards and development of people. This focus is good for our business because it is external reinforcement of our ethical best practice approach, and consistent internal culture should offer competitive advantage," said Bulgin.