This paper will work to assess the role of ethics and compliance in the financial environment at Pepsi-Cola. It will describe the procedures that the organization has put in place in order to ensure that ethical behavior takes place.

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Companies are often in the news for their failure to adhere to appropriate compliance standards or for their unethical principles or practices, though there are some companies who make the news not because of their failure to adhere, but as a result of their willingness and ability to go above and beyond within these areas. PepsiCo, hereafter to be referred to as simply Pepsi, has recently been named one of the world’s most ethical companies for the eighth year in a row (PepsiCo Named a 2014 World’s Most Ethical Company by the Ethisphere Institute for the 8th Consecutive Year, 2014). Through a review of their compliance practices and ethical behaviors, it will be possible to gain a better understanding not only of the role of ethics and compliance within the organization, but the procedures that Pepsi has put in place for the purposes of ensuring ethical behaviors and practices.

Compliance is the process of conforming to internal and external rules, laws, procedures, regulations, policies, or standards, while ethics refers to the guiding principles and values of the organization and the ability of the organization or an individual within the organization to maintain a balance on the side of what is right (What are Compliance and Ethics?, 2014). In order to ensure that Pepsi is able to continue to maintain its high standards, those that allow the company the continuous attainment of awards, like the award for “best overall governance” (PepsiCo Presented Best Overall Governance, Compliance and Ethics Program Award (Large Cap Category), 2013), Pepsi not only ensures total compliance with their codes of conduct, federal laws, state laws, local laws, and global laws, they work to ensure that their practices are constantly updated and revised as needed.

The Pepsi global code of conduct, last updated in 2012, is their primary method of ensuring high levels of ethical compliance on the part of the company as a whole and each of its individual employees (Our Global Code of Conduct: Doing Business the Right Way, 2014). Totaling 40 pages, this code of conduct works to outline the responsibility of all employees to adhere to these practices, and covers everything from the personal responsibilities of the employees, workplace practices, responsibilities, and the process of adherence (Global Code of Conduct, 2012). In addition to this code of conduct, Pepsi has implemented a host of human sustainability policies, environmental sustainability policies, and talent sustainability policies, designed to ensure that not only is the company fully compliant with all applicable laws, rules, and regulations, but that the company behaves in an ethically responsible manner as well (Performance with Purpose Policies, 2014).

To ensure that all members of the company are held responsible for the adherence to all ethical policies, and to ensure that the company remains compliant with all laws, rules, and regulations, Pepsi has implemented what they refer to as their “Speak Up” hotline, a line setup for access by all associates, consumers, business partners, and anyone else who would desire to report violations for investigation (Speak Up Hotline, 2014). All complaints of ethical violations or compliance issues are investigated and addressed in the appropriate manner, working to ensure that the organization is able to continue to maintain the high ethical and compliance standards they are known for.

Though Pepsi may be primarily known for the fact that its taste may be best described as a flat cola, the company includes a host of other brands under their umbrella, all who are held to the same high levels of quality, compliance, and ethical standards, indicating the manner in which they are able to stand out from the rest of the crowd.