Internal whistleblowing is beneficial for companies. Reporting legal or internal rules and values violations can help to identify risks at an early stage and avoid sanctions, fines and reputational damage. While many European companies recognise this and have established whistleblowing systems, others continue to lag due to an inadequate compliance culture, internal reticence or ineffective reporting channels.
Whistleblowing is gaining recognition throughout Europe, not least due to recent legislative change. While whistleblowing systems were already widespread in Great Britain, in 2017 France introduced the Sapin II anti-corruption law, obliging companies to set up reporting channels. Now the European Union is following suit. Once Member States have implemented the Whistleblowing Directive into national law, companies with more than 50 employees will be obliged to set up efficient and effective reporting channels. This will serve to protect the whistleblowers. They should not have to fear consequences for disclosing misconduct.
But how can effective reporting channels be implemented that meet all requirements? Where should reports be managed within the organisation? Should anonymous reporting be made possible, and is it sensible to open reporting channels outside the organisation? We have addressed these and other questions in this Whistleblowing Report 2019 carried out in partnership with the Swiss University of Applied Sciences HTW Chur. Our aim was to use robust data analysis to improve awareness of whistleblowing systems and to address uncertainties that still exist in many companies.
The Whistleblowing Report 2019 provides comprehensive insight into current practices in Germany, France, Great Britain and Switzerland. We hope that you enjoy reading it and gain new insights into this topic. We would like to thank the many companies whose cooperation has made this study possible. Our special thanks go to Prof. Christian Hauser, and his team from HTW Chur, for their professional cooperation.
Achim Weick Founder & CEO EQS Group AG
Moritz Homann Managing Director Corporate Compliance EQS Group AG