About SNC Lavalin
SNC Lavalin is the largest construction and engineering company in Canada. The company was founded in 1911, and has since expanded to have offices not only all across Canada, but also in 35 other countries. SNC Lavalin offers services such as, engineering, construction, project financing and management and so on. These services are provided to industries for construction, mining, mass transit, pharmaceuticals and environment; just to name a few. On its website, the company lists seven priorities that are part of its business strategy for success; operational excellence, improve competitiveness, stronger relationships with clients, geographic diversification and growth of markets and offerings, recruit and develop the best talent in the industry, financial strength, and finally, corporate social responsibility.1
Recent News Scandals
SNC Lavalin has had its share of scandals in the last few years. The most current stain on the company’s record regards former chief executive Pierre Duhaime and other top executive Riadh Ben Aissa. Mr. Duhaime currently faces charges of fraud, conspiracy to commit fraud and issuing false documents.2 Riadh Ben Aissa faces his own charges for alleged corruption, fraud and money-laundering in North Africa.3 Both men are under suspicion of having used bribery to attain the contract for the construction of the McGill University Health Centre, a 1.3 billion dollar project. Unfortunately, this is only a scratch on the surface of the company. SNC Lavalin was also involved in a scandal with former Libyan ruler Moammar Gadhafi. Ben Aissa was also accused of his involvement in bribing Gadhafi’s son with $160 million in order to gain contracts in Libya. On top of this, accusations were made that Ben Aissa and Stephane Roy, former controller of SNC Lavalin, attempted to smuggle Gadhafi’s son and family into Mexico during their fall from Libyan rule.4
The public may never find out if the scandals surrounding SNC Lavalin are restricted to the individuals publicly involved, or if the corruption runs down a deeper avenue within the company. This being said, I would not say that the company had an ethical lapse; rather certain employees within the company had an ethical lapse and, when discovered, were appropriately let go from the company. SNC Lavalin continues to recover its good image by cooperating with the authorities regarding the investigations of Duhmaine and Ben Aissa, as well as moving on with its regular work and charity efforts. Code of Ethics
SNC Lavalin does have a code of ethics, and it is very strongly assured on its website. In the first paragraph it states, “It is the policy of SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. to maintain the highest standard of ethics in the conduct of its business and in its relations with whomever it does business or is associate… The company’s integrity and reputation for ethical practices are among its most valued assets and are essential elements in its continued quest for sustained profitability.” Value Statement
SNC Lavalin’s vision and value statement does not greatly discuss the environment, but rather focuses on the treatment and growth of the employees. The value statement explains how SNC Lavalin means to empower employees and help them with continuous growth. They reiterate the importance of following the code of ethics, and health and safety.
SNC Lavalin personifies a strong and concrete ethical culture on paper. Although the scandals of a few cast a shadow on the company name, SNC Lavalin’s Code of Ethics and Business Conduct emphasizes that every individual is responsible for his or her own actions. If those actions disobey or go against the Code of Ethics and Business conduct, that individual will face the appropriate penalties. A prime example would be the termination of Pierre Duhaime and Riadh Ben Aissa. After their alleged acts of fraud and conspiracy, both were let go from SNC Lavalin, not only as the two’s actions reflected badly on the company, but they clearly violated the code and conduct strictly advertised by SNC Lavalin. Philanthropy
SNC Lavalin is involved with many forms of charity and philanthropy. On its website, under the link “WE CARE”, SNC Lavalin has promised to give one hundred examples of how it gives back to the community not only in Canada, but around the world. One example would be its partnership with the Calgary Region Immigrant Employment Council (CRIEC) to mentor and assist immigrants in Calgary to assimilate into the Canadian work environment. Another example of its philanthropic work is the support offered to St. Mary’s Hospital Lacor located in Gulu, Uganda.
SNC Lavalin sends representatives to offer help, expertise and recommendations to help the hospital in any way possible. The company also does work with an organization call Kurling for Kids, which is a non-profit organization fundraising for the Montreal Children’s Hospital and Sainte Justine UHC. These are only a few examples of the charity work SNC Lavalin has offered, and will continue to offer in the future. Company Image
The scandals that have circled SNC Lavalin certainly contradict what the company portrays itself to be. The mission statement, code of ethics, value statements, and so on, ensures an atmosphere of ethical and moral business. Sadly, news of fraud, lying, stealing money, and bribery are not the proper support for such a heavy promise. Even so, the company’s image still seems to be intact. The unfortunate actions of a few do not reflect on the majority of the company. In order to keep its good standing in the public, SNC Lavalin no longer employs those who have been caught going against company policy and conducting themselves in an unethical or immoral manner of doing business. Corporate Citizenship
If one can disregard the current scandals facing SNC Lavalin, then it can be said that the company is a good corporate citizen. The corporation does work all over the world and has many projects beneficial, not only to itself, but to the rest of the world. The environment page on the website sates, “We use an integrated approach to achieve environmental responsibility, social equity and economic efficiency in all phases of the project life cycle. This triple bottom line approach to sustainability strengthens the technical and financial performance of the project.” Personal Evaluation
After weighing the pros and cons of the company, I feel SNC Lavalin is a successful and impressive corporation. These few indiscretions do not negate all the good the company promotes for its employees, the environment, shareholders, other countries, etc. SNC Lavalin remains the leading engineering and construction business in Canada. I would work for this company because, regardless of what is being published of them at this time, SNC Lavalin still emphasizes its code of ethics. Also, the philanthropic work they do is very impressive and inspiring. After my research, I feel that the good they do and the work they complete offers more to a community than what the scandals take away.