* By Carolina Marzano

Ethics have become an essential value in modern societies. It is the foundation on which all types of relationships, whether personal or corporate, are based. A company that does not have a culture of ethics and integrity incorporated into its routine and implemented out of respect for the law, fair competition and a suitable business environment, loses credibility in the market and, consequently, revenue. Therefore, it is necessary to show the world that IT companies operating in the domestic market have ethics as a corporate commitment and, more than that, that it is part of the industry's culture.

An ethics program has a tangible value, as it improves reputation, productivity and also financial results, being essential for companies that carry out or seek contracts with the Public Administration. And it is increasingly clear to executives that corporations committed to disseminating and complying with their values are more recognized by the market and consumers. KPMG points to the fourth edition of the survey Compliance Maturity in Brazil that 73% of the senior executives interviewed agree that compliance with ethical and legal standards is crucial to companies' strategy. In the first edition of the study, in 2015, only 58% made the same claim. According to the data, in 2015, 19% of the companies surveyed said they did not have a compliance function in the structure, against 9% in the last edition. The survey also shows that compliance spending is relatively large, however, essential for the healthy growth of companies.

Thinking about how to actually help companies to implement their own Compliance Programs, ABES – Brazilian Association of Software Companies developed the initiative An Ethical Company , a project that aims to improve the ethical and moral standards of companies so that they adopt an Integrity Program that, in addition to promoting a culture of ethics in corporations, allows for the mitigation of the penalties brought by the Anti-Corruption Law (Law 12,846/2013) and meets the requirements of other applicable laws. By offering free to associates and partner entities three services that make up the main pillars of an effective Integrity Program - a Code of Ethics and Conduct model, periodic training directed at company employees and an independent whistleblowing channel - ABES encourages the market to follow the path of ethics and integrity. Those that promote these three pillars receive the An Ethical Company Certificate, valid for 12 months.

The association was one of the first to implement an Integrity Program, updating its Code of Ethics and Conduct, establishing an Interaction Policy with Public Agents, as well as creating internal rules and policies to establish a set of measures to prevent, monitor and mitigate vulnerabilities , identify the risks to which the association may be exposed; and strengthen the institution's internal controls and risk management capacity.

We have been living a movement to fight corruption, encouraging ethics and transparency in the relationships that companies maintain with their employees, customers, suppliers, government agencies and other organizations. This approach has become critical to the success of any business. Therefore, companies in the Information Technology Sector need to commit to complying with these values to maintain their relevance in the national market. Only with the dissemination of ethics and integrity in the Brazilian business environment and with the positive impact of implementing Compliance Programs, based on policies and practices that inhibit corruption and unfair competition, will we have the fair and ethical development of the sector in Brazil.

*Carolina Marzano is a lawyer graduated from Universidade Presbiteriana Mackenzie, has a postgraduate degree from the OAB/SP Law School in Intellectual Property and specializes in Compliance and Compliance Management by INSPER – Institute of Education and Research, currently Compliance Officer and General Coordinator of Committees and Working Groups of ABES – Brazilian Association of Software Companies and Advisor – Integrity and Compliance at CLM.

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