The international reputation of ICIS has been established through dedication to getting the facts right, to bringing transparency to markets shrouded in privacy. This document helps define the good practice necessary to achieve this aim.
This document is the culmination of inputs from editorial staff and clients worldwide on how ICIS should grapple with the difficult issues impacting the markets today.
Our staff, and the freelance contributors commissioned to work with us, all need to be familiar with these guidelines. This is both a moral responsibility and a contractual obligation for everyone who creates content for ICIS.
EDITORIAL GUIDELINES: CONTENTS
These guidelines apply to all editorial content produced by staff on behalf of ICIS, whatever the final format used for delivery. ICIS staff are also subject to the Reed Elsevier Code of Ethics and Business Conduct.
These guidelines are also designed to help senior managers and their advisors within our target industries to address difficult commercial issues so that sometimes controversial decisions can be made.
ICIS – part of Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Plc – publishes a suite of products mostly geared to the global energy and chemicals industry.
ICIS editorial staff are the experts in their fields. When coming across particularly difficult or sensitive issues they have the main responsibility to consult and research to ensure our reporting is of the highest standards. The more important and contentious the issue, the higher up it should be referred. For example, ICIS editors are always on the lookout for attempts to manipulate markets through contacts feeding in potentially misleading information. ICIS retains the right not to include or report certain information.
ICIS is at all times completely independent of any market upon which we report. ICIS does not hold any direct interest in the issues upon which it reports. ICIS – the company or the individuals that comprise the editorial staff – does not maintain any commercial interest in the markets upon which it reports. ICIS is a fully independent and unbiased source of market information.
Pricing and price information, as well as news and other editorial content, can be highly sensitive and potentially fraught with legal risks. ICIS has a legal team on hand to advise on potential legal risks, and the lawyers are consulted as and when appropriate.
ICIS does not disclose its sources unless there is prior agreement with the source concerned. Information offered to ICIS on a confidential basis will remain confidential although we retain the right to check the authenticity of any information offered. If there is a situation where legal action is threatened to try to discover a source, it will normally be appropriate to consult with senior management before agreeing to maintain confidentiality.
ICIS is built on objective fairness, and this standard percolates through everything ICIS produces. In its markets, ICIS recognises that views reported from market participants will necessarily be subjective. ICIS pledges to make reasonable efforts to cross-check information to ensure news, price assessments, market commentary and other content remain accurate and impartial. It will be necessary from time to time to give prominence to certain views prevalent within the market if those views are having significant trading impact.
If external pressure (of whatever form) or any form of censorship is imposed, ICIS pledges to state such and define under which restrictions content has been prepared.
The ICIS corrections policy states that: ICIS issues corrections to prices when it discovers a mathematical, typographical, procedural or computer error has occurred in the assessment or publication process. Price assessments will not be corrected with information that comes to light after the publishing deadline. Facts established after the publishing deadline will be included in the next pricing report. In the event that an ICIS customer raises questions about a price quotation, ICIS undertakes to review the relevant published quotation and to respond in detail. If a correction is necessary, it will be made as quickly as possible and the price assessment and all relevant reports reissued. ICIS stands by its published material unless a correction is issued.
ICIS can refer to third party information when appropriate, although this must always be clearly sourced as such. The only information able to be used as fact is information previously published by ICIS, unless that information originated from a third party, when the source must be stated.
ICIS recognises it is not the only organisation offering news, pricing assessments and market intelligence on the sectors it covers. ICIS aims to base itself on the principles of honesty, straight-dealing and strives to offer the most reliable, accurate and comprehensive service available. ICIS will not unduly criticise competing services.
ICIS editorial staff generally do not record telephone calls with market contacts. Detailed notes are kept of all reporting-related conversations or events. Conversations conducted through internet messenger services can be archived, whole email communications will also be kept for the file.
ICIS depends on its reputation for independence, impartiality and objectivity. Our subscribers must be able to rely on ICIS content as the most accurate reflection of any given market at any given point in time. Subscribers must feel confident that ICIS content is not driven by any commercial or personal interests.
ICIS editorial staff or freelancers are obliged to notify if they have any commercial interest in any company or organisation on which they are reporting. Such commercial interests include, for example, direct financial interests, such as shareholdings or other investment in the company or organisation, work as a consultant or advisor to the company or organisation, and close family/partner employment by the company or organisation. The head of content will decide whether it is appropriate for the individual concerned to continue reporting on that company or organisation, or whether the work should be reassigned.
Editorial staff may wish to pursue outside work. ICIS does not prevent this but insists outside commitments neither adversely impact ICIS responsibilities nor create conflicts of interest. If there is any danger of conflict of interest the head of content will give careful consideration as to whether this interest should be declared or pursued.
ICIS pledges to respond to all communications it receives in an appropriate manner. When required, written responses can be vetted by a manager before being sent.
ICIS editorial staff, as market experts, are both expected and encouraged to deliver public speeches and presentations on ICIS or the markets we cover. All content is normally cleared by senior management in advance of delivery.
ICIS editorial staff are offered comprehensive training opportunities covering editorial or journalistic skills, market knowledge, information technology and other management and development skills. Courses may be offered through our in-house training department or outsourced to third parties.
In the interests of independent reporting, ICIS is in principle opposed to the concept of editorial staff accepting paid-for travel and hospitality, irrespective of whether reporting is required. Some circumstances are generally acceptable (a business lunch, for example) and there will be some other exceptions made for sound business or other practical issues. Editorial staff are obliged to inform their manager about all potentially high value invitations received.
All staff are also governed by the Reed Elsevier Code of Conduct and Business Ethics.
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