Joanne Mullen

Chief Compliance Officer

Ecolab

As a multinational supplier of services providing hygiene, safe food and clean water in 171 countries, Ecolab’s reputation for reliable, safe service has always been important, one reason the company is one of the very small number of 14-time World’s Most Ethical Companies honorees. But as people around the world are attempting to combat and contain the novel coronavirus outbreak, their purpose— “to make the world cleaner, safer and healthier”—has taken on even more resonance. Joanne Mullen, the company’s Chief Compliance Officer, plays a major role in advancing that purpose.

Fortunately for their customers around the world, Mullen says, “Safety and compliance are the two bookends that hold up our company. We have a very, very strong leadership team that takes compliance very seriously.” Leadership at all levels is engaged to solidify this commitment: Mullen reports five times a year to the board’s audit committee, and spends much of her time traveling among different regions to convene compliance and ethics committees of regional finance, human resources, and business leaders. “This is just part of doing our business,” she says.

At moments like the current one, with global anxiety about the coronavirus spread, the company’s steadfast commitments pay serious dividends. As Mullen asks, “Is there anything more important right now than the safety of water and food? Our global, multinational customers look to us to help them achieve their results. They demand that we are ethical, that we are transparent, and that we don’t just talk the talk.” Their steadfast commitment to ethics and safety means that even in uncertain times, Ecolab can remain a reliable resource for its 3 million commercial customers around the world, and for each of the individuals those customers touch in turn.

Ecolab has also stepped up to help educate the public, leveraging its 50000 employees worldwide. A quick look at the Ecolab website leads to informational videos about hygiene. “We’re experts in public health and infection prevention, so now more than ever, our expertise is needed,” Mullen declares. “We were on the ground with our China leaders giving them resources to be sure our employees and customers were healthy, safe, and had the supplies they needed.”

Even amidst these seemingly-larger concerns, for Mullen, the company’s work boils down to the basics. “We work hand in hand with our customers to make sure our people out in the world are safe and comfortable.” It’s hard to argue with that kind of mission.