On 7 April 2014 EuCham hosted the Business Integrity Forum CEE 2014, unprecedented in terms of the level of participants in Central and Eastern Europe. The Forum was organized with the aim of raising awareness to key players in the region on the topics of preventing corruption, transparency and business ethics. The conference raised widespread positive feedback from over 150 participants who attended from the private, public and NGO sectors.
The President of EuCham Mr Michele Orzan opened the conference by highlighting the importance of the integrity both for the multinationals and SMEs, which are urged to adopt transparency practices to stand strongly in the highly competitive business environment.
Ms Krisztina Papp of Transparency International drew attention to the interdependence of transparency and competitiveness; she underlined the impact of the regulatory framework on the ethical business standards, urging at the same time for large companies to set an example for the whole business community.
The speech of the President of TRACE International Ms Alexandra Wrage introduced the TRACE certifications and casted a new light on the anti-bribery efforts taken by the companies to commit to commercial transparency throughout the world.
The panel with four ambassadors from Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden focused on the Nordic Ethics and Integrity. Mr Tom Nørring, the Ambassador of Denmark, underlined the importance of the CSR policy, good climate at the workplace and gender relations as a key to success for every company.
The Ambassador of Finland Mr Pasi Tuominen followed pointing out that the strong ombudsman’s position and the almost unlimited right to public information are the core values of the Finnish transparency. The speech of Ms Tove Skarstein, the Ambassador of Norway, gave insight into the advantages of the successful gender policies and women inclusion efforts in leadership. The Ambassador of Sweden Ms Karin Olofsdotter summarized, underlining the role of trust in the fight against corruption, perceived by the Swedish society as shameful and highly unacceptable.
Another panel, moderated by Mr Nicholas Sarvari, President of Canadian Chamber of Commerce, included Mr Irakli Rekhviashvili of Bank of Georgia, who shared with the audience the Georgian experience in the successful adoption of anti-corruption policies in the public sector. Mr Davide Torsello, professor at the CEU Business School, emphasized the cultural differences in the perception of corruption. His speech was followed by exchange of experiences among representatives of Transparency International from three different countries. The Croatian experience in combating bribery at the governmental level was presented by Mr Don Markušić, Vice President of Transparency International Croatia; Mr Victor Alistar, Executive Director of Transparency International Romania, emphasized the urgent need in the most corrupted countries for not only building trust, but also for an effective monitoring. The Executive Director of Transparency International Hungary Mr József Péter Martin reinforced the message and his main point was to incentivize companies to act ethically, in order to perform better economically at the micro-level and improve the CPI index at the macro-level.
All speakers and panelists recognized the need for the public and private sector to improve their own efforts against corruption and respond to the ethical challenge by setting common principles. The next edition of Business Integrity Forum CEE is planned for March 2015. businessintegrityforum.com