How AB InBev Company maintains a culture of ethical compliance

November 29, 2022 - 10:38
Director of Legal and Corporate Affairs, Southeast Asia, Anheuser-Busch InBev Vietnam Brewery Limited Company (AB InBev), Trương Văn Toàn, speaks to Việt Nam News about business culture and entrepreneurial ethics.
Trương Văn Toàn, Director of Legal and Corporate Affairs, Southeast Asia, Anheuser-Busch InBev Vietnam Brewery Company Limited (AB InBev).

Director of Legal and Corporate Affairs, Southeast Asia, Anheuser-Busch InBev Vietnam Brewery Limited Company (AB InBev), Trương Văn Toàn, speaks to Việt Nam News about business culture and entrepreneurial ethics.

The two are key factors in creating the business philosophy and customer confidence and are core values ​​for companies to build, sustain and develop their brands.

A strong brand must be built on an increasingly solid and attractive corporate culture. Broadly speaking, culture is the foundation of business development; when the cultural foundation is strong, the business will develop sustainably.

What would you say briefly about the ethics and compliance culture at Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev)?

At AB InBev, we have a shared dream and shared purpose that is ‘We Dream Big to Create a Future with More Cheers’. To achieve this, we have established 10 principles. Of them, principle No 10 is the most important.

“We never take shortcuts. We always do the right thing to build a company we can be proud of. Integrity and transparency guide everything we do.”

This is the culture that defines who we are and how we act. It makes our company a great place to work and makes us special and different from other companies.

Globally, we are building a company for the next 100 years or more and we never take shortcuts.

Business profit is important to our success, but we never put it ahead of ethics or integrity at AB InBev.

The key is that all employees must understand the importance of ethical compliance and be willing to participate in upholding the company's ethical standards.

How has AB InBev been able to maintain and develop a culture of ethical compliance over the years?

A business that strictly adheres to business ethics will enjoy countless benefits: your employees will be more satisfied with their working environment, your community will have greater trust in your organisation and your bottom line is sure to grow over time. However, creating that ethical culture can be difficult if you don’t have the right policies and tools.

At AB InBev, we strictly follow company values with principles of conduct.

All new employees get a training in company’s principles of conduct. This will help them understand what is expected of them at AB InBev and how they should conduct themselves and what they should do if they witness any non-compliant behaviours in the workplace.

At AB InBev, the witness can report any non-compliant behaviours through the company’s Anonymous Reporting System. This whistleblower system allows everyone to anonymously report any ethical violations they witness without fear of retaliation.

Ethics and compliance are essential to keeping your business running effectively and creating a satisfied workforce.

Our Whistleblower Policy is an important and effective tool in detecting corrupt, illegal and other undesirable conduct. It allows you to safely express concerns and know whom to contact and how to make a report.

This helps us maintain our culture of openness and accountability.

As a part of our effort to communicate the significance of ethics and compliance and raise awareness, we designated every October as “Compliance Month”. During October, employees are provided with opportunities to get more familiar with the regulations and standards AB InBev expects them to adhere to at work. During this month we roll out many training programmes with both online and in-person sessions. Along with these robust training sessions, we also have other activities such as compliance quiz competitions to ensure that knowledge and skills are better retained.

How do you value the importance of “Message from the leadership” in the ethics and compliance?

The message from the leadership is to create an ethical working environment for business. It is communicated properly and maintaining ethical compliance, which is fundamental to building corporate sustainability. After all, it is also the glue that sticks one another in an organisation.

At AB InBev, our senior leaders are fully aware of the significance of ethics and compliance. They constantly strive to set an example for our employees in ethics and compliance in our daily responsibilities.

Senior leaders periodically reach out to employees to reiterate issues and topics related to ethics and compliance.

To be specific, can you please share AB InBev’s activities to leverage ethics and compliance culture among the organisation as well as contribution to the business network in Việt Nam?

As environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards have become mainstream and widely recognised as crucial for businesses, AB InBev is ready to embark on the ESG journey.

We believe that ESG plays a significant role in company reputation and trust. We also heard from many analysts that reputation will be a bigger driver of business success, including financial success.

Ethics and compliance is a core component of the G of ESG. Ethical culture and taking no shortcuts is the culture that we live by at AB InBev and eventually the process of creating value within AB InBev by building good ESG and a good reputation as a company, which as a result enables us to achieve our dream to “Create a Future with More Cheers”.

I joined the Việt Nam Business Integrity Network (VBIN) on behalf of AB InBev in September 2021 as one of the members of the advisory group to acquire more knowledge as well as to share our best practices with others.

I actively participated in the VBIN’s activities on behalf of AB InBev and I played the role of a speaker and facilitator to share with local businesses and participants AB InBev’s ethics and compliance culture as well as its strong framework and solid activities that enhance employees’ compliance awareness.

Trương Văn Toàn from Anheuser-Busch InBev Vietnam Brewery Company Limited (AB InBev)

Do you have absolute confidence in company employees' sense of compliance that they will work with you to build a strong culture of ethics and compliance at AB InBev?

This is absolutely true when the greatest strength of every business is human resources. At AB InBev, we have the same belief.

Everyone needs to know their roles and understand the “why” and “how” of the compliance system works including the Code of Business Conduct. Controls need to be clearly communicated, ideally with a feedback loop so control owners can voice their insights and concerns.

We are not only proud of our global brands but also of our integrity and ethical working environment. VNS