Strong business ethics are a core value of Con Edison. Through the years, one of the most important lessons we have learned is that having a strong financial foundation and operational excellence are only part of what it takes to continue a company’s success. We also recognize that our Standards of Business Conduct are an integral component of a sustainable company.
Reflecting the company’s continuing commitment to ethical operations, the Business Ethics and Compliance group was significantly restructured and strengthened in 2012. Personnel were added to the expanding group, which was moved from the Internal Audit Department to the Law Department. To head the new group, Vice President and Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer Kimberly Strong joined the Company in early January 2012. Ms. Strong was named to the Ethisphere Institute's 2012 Attorneys Who Matter list as a top ethics and compliance officer.
Con Edison’s Standards of Business Conduct are founded upon our values of service, honesty, concern, courtesy, excellence and teamwork. These Standards set forth the basic principles that employees must follow in their day-to-day work, which allow the company to carry out our commitments to our customers, our communities, our fellow employees, our shareholders, our business partners, and the public. We completed an update of the Standards of Business Conduct, which was released to all employees of Con Edison of New York, Orange and Rockland, and the competitive energy businesses in early 2013.
During the fall of 2012, the department launched annual Standards of Business Conduct training to all management employees of Con Edison of New York, Orange and Rockland, and the competitive energy businesses. We also continued to conduct ethics and compliance training for new employees, new supervisors and new managers, and to administer FERC-required ethics training.
The department increased visibility among all Con Edison companies through a coordinated communications campaign in 2012. We also presented the updated team structure and mission to expanded staff meetings at Con Edison of New York, Orange and Rockland, and the competitive energy businesses, meeting with approximately 2,000 employees by year end.
We encourage employees to seek advice, ask questions, and report concerns. We provide several resources, including a confidential Ethics Helpline and email address, for employees to contact their ethics and compliance office. Employees may also contact their supervisors or managers, or the corporate ombudsman, among others, to raise issues. A group of five individuals within the Business Ethics and Compliance group are dedicated to investigating allegations of employee misconduct.
The Department also hosted more than 29 energy companies for the third-quarter meeting of the National Energy Compliance Forum, a group that primarily focuses on FERC regulations affecting electric transmission and generation owners.
Department members are active members of the Ethics and Compliance Officers Association, and the FERC group of the Edison Electric Institute. This year, a Con Edison of New York employee was elected chair of Ethics and Compliance Officer Association’s Utilities Industry Group. Employees are also participants on the company’s Enterprise Risk Management Committee, the Compliance Risk Management team, the Contractor Compliance Committee and the Contractor Oversight Steering Committee.
Just as we keep our employees knowledgeable of their ethical responsibilities, we also work to educate our vendors and contractors on the Standards of Business Conduct. In support of this aim, all vendors with contracts of $10,000 or more receive an annual letter from the vice president of the company’s Purchasing Department, reminding them of the company’s gift policy and providing them with a copy of the Standards of Business Conduct that apply to vendors. Those vendors with contracts of $350,000 or more also acknowledge that they understand and agree to abide by the standards in their dealings with Con Edison.
“Integrity is having the courage to do what's right even when the right choice is difficult.”Kimberley Strong Kimberly joined the company in 2012 as vice president and chief ethics and compliance officer, bringing extensive Fortune 500 experience to the company. Her Business Ethics & Compliance team partners with employees across the company, offering advice and guidance, and helping them to make decisions informed and inspired by ethics and integrity.