Ethics in Business: In Their Own Words with AlipayHK’s Jennifer Tan and Cargill’s David MacLennan

Just another WordPress site

Ethics in Business: In Their Own Words with AlipayHK’s Jennifer Tan and Cargill’s David MacLennan

(gentle music) – Integrity I always consider that is the very basic core value of any professional – You start to think about, what difference can we make in the world through our company, through our products, through our employees? – Hello, I’m Magalie Laguerre-Wilkinson Welcome to “Ethics in Business: In their Own Words.” ACCA, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants has teamed up with Carnegie Council and CFA Institute to produce this interview series, launched in 2018 for Global Ethics Day The series features global business leaders exploring how businesses are preparing for an ethical future in the face of challenges presented by globalization, technology, and human psychology Today, we’ll be talking to two business leaders First we’ll be speaking with Jennifer Tan, CEO of AlipayHK and then we’ll talk with David MacLennan, chairman and CEO of Cargill Alipay, established in China by the Alibaba Group, is the world’s largest mobile payment platform In 2017, Ant Financial launched the AliPayHK brand in Hong Kong as a joint venture with CK Hutchison Hong Kong residents can use AlipayHK to make secure mobile payments in stores, supermarkets, taxis, restaurants, food markets, and other retail outlets Here’s our talk with AlipayHK CEO, Jennifer Tan You became a fellow of ACCA in 1993 Has the ethical focus of your work changed over that time? – 1993 That means everybody knows about my age I became a Fellow Member! Actually, at that time, although we’re always talking about ethics, ethical standards, but there’s not a real clear definition about what means ethics because everybody can have their interpretation Probably you are aware that for ACCA, when we’re talking about to introduce ethics as part of the inner module goes back to 2008 Actually, the ACCA is the first professional body to do that When you’re talking about 1993, at that time although everybody was talking about that, but what it means to me may be different to another professional accountant – What it means to you, how do you implement it in your position right now? – When we’re talking about ethics, we always, oh, okay, you should not do something which is not good for a company, or you should not do something which has a conflict of interest, those kinds of things But I think nowadays it’s quite different First, professional bodies like ACCA, they already include ethics as the very center of their qualification, and there are lots of courses now, and also one most important thing is that now it is not only just talking about whether you should do it or not do it If we find somebody doing something unethical, we actually also have the responsibility to voice it out, to challenge it – Voicing it out, challenging it Let’s just say that in the past people have felt intimidated or they wanted to muzzle themselves so they wouldn’t challenge their future in a company How do you protect people who see unethical business practices, and how do you protect them to come forward? – It is very important in a company as a leader, actually we need to set the tone We need to emphasize on that For example, taking Alipay as an example, in Hong Kong we have in our business an assurance head, so we basically say, okay, if you find anything which is unethical, actually you can report to our business assurance head, who definitely will report to me, and then we will study the case to see what happened And other than that, actually we protect the one who voices it out because you must Even if you’re just anonymous, you don’t have a name, we will accept that, but of course we will study whether this is a real case or you just put something on someone else But I think the most important is the culture of the company – What is the greatest ethical challenge facing Alipay and your industry in general? – As an e-wallet company,

actually we are still pretty new We are only set up about a year Most of the noises I would say the noises or the challenges are that people do not quite understand about e-wallet because they will think about: okay, you get a lot of my data How will you use our data? Will you use it ethically? In Hong Kong people are quite concerned about their data privacy, so they think about: Okay, you see wallet, you know my spending behavior Will you use that? Will you sell my data? That’s why we need to do a lot of education to them Say for example, in our case if you are just a new user and you think your spending level, no need to be a high amount because we base it on a certain spending level, just a mobile number you can register and be our user In that case, that means I don’t know who you are I always tell them, “No need for me to know who you are.” I only know an account This is a user And based on your spending I know that it’s a lady because she goes to buy cosmetic products and maybe she’ll go to a supermarket very frequently, so definitely with a family, and because based on their spending level we can guess, or they settle their telecom bills, they settle their utility bills, so we can have their profile We do not need to ask our user And also we will not ask for that very sensitive personal data What we want to do is know them and we want to use it for better service for them Then we will not sell that data because for us we think that this is very important Because we gather the information, we are not using our users’ data to earn money We actually want to serve them better, and they then become a very loyal user to us – So right now in these times we’re dealing with a lot of trust factors within social media So you’re telling me that just with a phone number, there’s enough there How do you still convince that audience to trust you, to trust that the information that they’re giving you is just going to stay within the parameters of Alipay and it’s not going to go out? – This is a very good question, especially for a new start-up What we’re going to do is first I need to do more education, talk to lots of media or user groups The second thing is that we very seriously look at our system, look at our flow, to make sure that our data will not be subject to any risks because our users trust us Now we only have about a year So far, okay, I think And I believe it is the credibility and the trust need to accumulate As the time goes, they will know that actually it’s a very professional company Internally we have very high ethical standards People always challenge me: “Oh, what is your business model?” I say, “First, we will not sell the data,” because that is not our business Our business model is actually as mentioned we are doing I would say packet selling We know a user, they buy an air ticket, so maybe they need travel insurance, so we may push those with them, and we share the commission from the merchant We earn from the merchant, we are not earning from our user – I see – But they key is we must make sure our user is a happy user They will be our loyalty user, they will use more on our platform, and that’s our business model – I wanna ask you a little bit about diversity You’re a woman You’re running Alipay How do you make it equal with men and women? I know that qualifications are the key, but how do you make it an equal partnership? – A lot of people ask me that question Personally, I never think about because they are men or women I never think about that I am actually more thinking: Okay, I’m a qualified accountant They are also qualified accountants, so there’s no difference When I work with engineers, I never think about because whether they are men or women who is better

or who is not so good I never think about that I only think: Okay, is the job The job is here We all see who can achieve That is the capability Capability just kind of that is not because of your gender – Have you found yourself in a situation where you’re in a boardroom and you arrive at a meeting and you’re the only woman there? – Actually, in the old days, quite common But I think nowadays it’s a little bit better We see more and more women in the boardrooms – You’re clearly passionate also about voluntary work, and you’re a member on various boards Can you talk a little bit about your voluntary work? – Actually, I have been a Hong Kong Committee Member of ACCA Hong Kong I joined what they call the PD subcom for a long time PD subcom means professional development As I mentioned at the very beginning, I am somebody who believes in this lifelong learning So when I came across, I find the ACCA got this Professional Development Subcommittee, I thought, Oh, that’s good, because I’ve been commercial, but I still want to make sure even myself keep abreast with up-to-date knowledge So I think this is good During the committee we are talking about a lot of new ideas, new accounting standards, and on the other hand we also consider what kind of training we can provide to our members This is quite in line with my as I said belief in lifelong learning So I started as a committee member for a long time Because of that I also worked for other voluntary, for example, I was a program advisor for one of the universities in Hong Kong for a master’s program Actually, I like to get involved in something related to education and also just to deal with students because in my time as I said we didn’t have Internet, so if we wanted to get some information or knowledge, it was quite challenging Unless say, “Okay, I know some friends” or just say, “I know somebody who studied “the ACCA, so I may know something.” Now I have the opportunity, I would like to share my experience with those young generation, especially like a program advisor I think it’s good because we actually had a university to think about what kind of subject or topics they should incorporate in the program for those master students – One of your fellow ACCA members, David Wu, talks about the profession’s global code of conduct, the IFAC code that covers five areas: Integrity, objectivity, professional competence and due care, confidentiality, and professional behavior For you, Jennifer Tan, which one matters most? – Integrity I always consider that is the very basic core value of any professional because no matter how smart you are or how capable you are if you have an integrity problem, then that is a big, big problem When I talk to some young generation, actually I find that they have different understandings of integrity They just think: Oh, okay I just do something which may be to my own benefit, but this doesn’t hurt others, so who cares? But I don’t think so You think that you didn’t hurt others because you don’t have the full picture Maybe your one decision actually you have a lot of negative impact on the society because nowadays lots of young generation don’t have that idea They just think: Okay, I’m not doing something which just makes my company worse, so what’s wrong? But I always say: “Okay, you are not only looking for the best interests of yourself, the best interests of your company, but you should look at the best interests of the community and the society. That’s very important – And now, we’ll turn to our talk with David MacLennan, chairman and CEO of Cargill,

an international food and agriculture corporation Cargill’s team of 155,000 employees in 70 countries is working to nourish the world in a safe, responsible, and sustainable way Cargill connects farmers with markets, customers with ingredients, and people and animals with the food they need It serves as a partner for food, agricultural, financial, and industrial customers in more than 125 countries What role does Cargill play in the community? – We take our role in any community very seriously We have 1500 locations around the world, and we are not only giving of our time to those communities, but also we give financial support where it’s needed But we, as part of our mission and part of our core, take our commitment to those communities very seriously We’re not just in a community to take labor or to take resources We’re there to give back and to be integrated with the local community and to be a responsible citizen there – Your role has sort of evolved, and I’m getting into a little bit of your, I don’t know if it’s called philanthropic work or perhaps being a volunteer in a community You’ve recently partnered with the ONE campaign, which is an unlikely partnership it seems, to say the least Can you talk a little bit how that has evolved and how it has developed? – We’re partners with ONE, as you know, and our view is we can’t do it by ourselves We need organizations like ONE to help show us the way, to help integrate us with the communities in terms of ending poverty and recognizing that poverty is sexist, which is a tag line of the ONE campaign It fits with our purpose It fits with our culture And they’re a great partner On the surface, it may seem that we’re unlikely partners, but it is a great partnership, and we’re very proud to be affiliated with them – What are some specific philanthropic efforts that Cargill is undertaking? – I think one that comes to mind and that really I think captures a lot of peoples’ imaginations, is farmer training So we can train them in some of the basics of farming, when to water, when to harvest, how to use pesticides For example, in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire in West Africa we’re also putting the money back into the community by paying a premium for farmers who raise their cocoa sustainably, so we’ll pay more, which allows them to create a bank, a medical facility, and a school So they’re gaining skills that are above and beyond farming, and so it’s kind of a, call it a two-edged effect, which is we’ll teach them and help train them to farm responsibly and sustainably, but we’ll also reinvest in the community through a premium so that they can build an infrastructure for their village I was in Nicaragua with our partnership with CARE and investing in a local school where families depend on their school for their meals So we’ve invested in a local school to help them build a kitchen so that the school can provide two meals a day for nutrition for their kids It’s a very poor country, so this is helping families there It’s something that we do in every country – I want to ask you You’ve been at the helm of Cargill now for five years How have you seen your role there? How have you evolved as a CEO, and how has the company evolved in the last five years? – I think your first year your head is kind of spinning You’re getting used to the job, you’re getting used to sorting out information and what do you need to do and where can you make an impact But as you get four or five years under your belt of service, you start to think: how can we make the world a better place? How can I help our employees and our company achieve our mission? And it’s going so fast So if I’m halfway through my tenure and I’ve got another five years to go, you start to think about, What difference can we make in the world through our company, through our products, through our employees? So you go from being, I’ll call it tactical in just figuring out the job to being strategic, and “How can I help us live out our purpose?” – It seems as though, and I’m going back again as well, but the CEO is always someone who seemed to be untouchable, and yet you’re in the company You’re not just at the head of the company, but you’re in it How have you made yourself in the company? – I really work hard on accessibility For example, even in our headquarters I try and eat lunch downstairs at least once a week We have a community table where we invite anybody who wants to each lunch so you don’t know each other, and I’ll go and sit

at that table I travel the Cargill world, and I go into the plants and ask people: How are we doing? Do you like working here? Do you feel safe? Safety is a very important component of our culture I just think authenticity and transparency, accessibility for all of our leadership team is a value that we place a lot of importance on People wanna know who’s running this place It’s not just me, it’s also our top leadership team, what are their values, what do they believe in, and hopefully touch them in some way that makes them feel valued and makes them feel important – Speaking of being involved in the company and what you do, having lunch and so forth with employees, but I want to ask you: How does Cargill work to create diversity in the industries it serves? – There’s a lot of different things we’re doing, and it’s something that’s very important to me personally Our leadership team out of nine has three women on it, and it’s the first time in Cargill’s history that we’ve had women on our top leadership team I have asked our executive team that if you’re asked to speak on a panel, it has to be diverse So if it’s all Caucasian men, I won’t serve on the panel It has to have a level of diversity either in the moderator or the other panelists I’ve also asked our teams that if you show up with a group of people at a meeting that isn’t diverse, bring someone along, female, African American, Hispanic, for development I think part of it’s a mindset We also have specific targets about diversity that we want to achieve over time We’ll be better as we get to be more diverse In some countries around the world there are very diverse populations, but I think it’s something that I spend a lot of time thinking about, and our leadership team is really focused on improving – What are some of the challenges do you find that minorities face in the industry? – It depends on where you’re located and access to minority talent Certain cities don’t have a large pool of minority talent We have a trading component in our company There are not a lot of women in trading, but we are working on getting women developed and coming out of college to have a career in trading But you can’t just fall back and say, “Well, there’s not enough of a population for us “to create diversity.” You have to measure it You have to see what are your statistics But I also think it’s a mindset, and diversity is inclusion, it’s being aware of your subconscious bias, it’s allowing people to come in and be who they are So it’s part culture, but it’s also part metrics that merge together to create an inclusive environment – How does Cargill help management, employees, and providers adapt to technological change? – It’s through training Again, I think it’s cultural, but it’s also skills-based, and I think part of the message we try to give culturally is that we all need to adapt our skills and be proactive and not wait until the day comes when the job can be given to automation For example, we have a role in our beef business where there was a person who would herd the cattle, which could be dangerous, you’re out in a feed lot, and these are big, untamed animals, so we developed a robot, and the robot moves the cattle along The person who used to have that job now manages the robot It means a different set of skills It means a set of technological skills, and so their job has been rotated upward, so they now sit above and look down and control the robot, which is a more lasting set of skills over time than someone who just moves the cattle along – And this individual has gotten the training thanks to Cargill to be able to man the robot – Exactly So that’s part of investing in technology skills where otherwise there might not have been a need other than the fact that we created a mechanized process for safety. It’s safer to have a robot amongst the cattle than it is a person – That’s smart and I think also reassuring because usually it’s the robot replaces the person, and there goes the job – Exactly – What is the greatest ethical challenge facing Cargill and your industry in general? – I think keeping people safe every day We have 155,000 employees and 100,000 contractors in 1500 locations around the world, and our purpose, to nourish the world in a safe, responsible, and sustainable way,

I want people to be safe I want the food that we make to be safe, and I want people to know that they’re also safe to be who they are and to bring their whole selves to work, not to be afraid of who they are or their backgrounds So safety isn’t just about physical safety, it’s about emotional safety It has been one of my primary objectives as CEO but also of our leadership team to make Cargill the safest company in the world Also, in our business and our industries of making food there is a lot of mechanized activities, there’s a lot of danger, and I just think that’s a moral imperative for a company like ours just to keep people safe – How has Cargill transformed communities? – I think our long-term commitment to those communities, being part of the community, to integrate with the fabric of the community through the people that we hire, through our volunteer activities, through being a responsible citizen, whether it be the environment, and being there for the long term and not just pulling up stakes when things go bad The fact is, we’re a private company We can take a long-term view, and that’s a real advantage I’m lucky I don’t have to worry about quarterly earnings reports and going in front of analysts or activist shareholders We take the long-term view One of our values, we have three stated values put people first That means we’re there for the long term (upbeat music)