An investor group representing superannuation funds has slammed the poor state of whistleblower systems in this country saying it is “taken aback” by the outdated and vague procedures available to those seeking to call out poor behaviour.
The Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI) found significant gaps when it examined codes of conduct and whistleblower policies at Australia’s 200 biggest listed companies, and says the results are “disappointing” – particularly given the intense focus on corporate culture amid misconduct scandals not least the financial services royal commission.
ACSI says poor corporate culture can be directly linked to weak codes of conduct and whistleblowing systems, saying failures in these areas represented a material risk to the “reputation, licence to operate and value” of companies.
It says many companies appeared to have a “tick-a-box” mentality, saying it planned to raise the shortcomings in meetings with companies and wants other investors to do the same.
More than half of the the codes of conduct released by big companies failed to mention big issues like money laundering, cyber security and human rights; and more than a third failed to address the issue of corruption, ACSI found.