In the light of ethics and compliance, the Code of Ethics (also referred to as Code of Ethics in Business or
Code of Conduct) is considered a core
document for an organization. Any other
policy or proceeding of inferior level
should respect principles and
guidelines set forth in the Code
of Ethics. This article focuses
on one of the components of
the Code of Ethics that is not
always given the importance
it deserves: the CEO’s
Using an introductory letter
or forward, the CEO addresses
the overall objectives, principles,
and commitments associated
with what senior management
considers successful business
ethics, helping employees
and stakeholders see how the
organization sets the tone at the
top and defines the importance of ethics
Recently, and especially in the civil law
corporate culture, the introductory letter or
forward message of the CEO in the Code
of Ethics is considered a must for many
reasons, such as to show the reasons that
led to its approval and to detail its purpose
Other objectives of including an
introductory letter in the Code of Ethics
are outlined below.
Set an example
Show that the Code of Ethics is also binding
for the senior management. In the context
of compliance, the tone at the top sets an
organization’s guiding values and ethical
climate by developing a sense of shared
values—which is the basis of long-term
strategies—and strong commitment. For
these reasons, it should be expressly stated
that senior management is committed to the
obligations laid down in the Code and they
will be the first ones to comply with them.
Code of Ethics’ introductory
letter: Importance and key
» A meaningful introductory letter comes from the strictest corporate intimacy.
» The Code of Ethics can help make a public message of the tone at the top.
» These core documents sustain momentum of the compliance message.
» The letter can fortify the organization’s reputation and shared values.
» It is a chance to engage employees and stakeholders with the corporate culture.
by Eridona Brahaj, MSc, LL.M, CESCOM®, IFCA and José Adroher Pastor, CESCOM®, IFCA