Four steps to pave the way for business integrity in Ukraine

Business integrity is rapidly becoming a must-have feature for companies that want to cultivate a strong ethical culture and build trust among customers and stakeholders.

In Transparency International’s 2017 Corruption Perception Index, Ukraine only ranked 130th out of 180 countries. Corruption affects multiple aspects of Ukraine’s economy, including the private sector, and remains a major obstacle to economic growth in Ukraine. Therefore, in order to support Ukraine to address corruption, UNDP is helping the country’s businesses raise their compliance and integrity standards, improve their reputations, and find new ways to develop profitable businesses while at the same time staying ahead of the competition.

1. Raising the bar for greater compliance

One aspect of this assistance is supporting businesses to develop robust compliance programmes to deal with internal risks of corruption. A model anti-corruption programme that meets international standards has been developed with UNDP support and adopted by the National Agency for Corruption Prevention (NACP). This is the first programme of its type adopted in the country. Having compliance programmes in place is already compulsory for all companies participating in public procurement tenders. Any other businesses that want to ensure better adherence to ethical standards can also join the more-than-250 pioneer companies that have already developed tailored programmes using the template document.

2. Preventing conflict of interest and improving ethics

In order to improve how ethical issues are handled and integrate impartiality into corporate culture, UNDP and NACP have developed step-by-step guidelines to prevent and manage conflicts of interest in the public sector. This hands-on tool is also useful for the business community, as it explores what conflict of interest really means, and how to minimize risks of unethical behaviour in such situations. In addition, companies can use an online course on conflict of interest developed by UNDP and NACP to further strengthen their efforts to improve business integrity. The course serves as a guide to behaviours that employees should avoid and introduces companies to ways to build a strong culture of integrity.

3. Building networks that matter

Business membership organizations have a positive impact on promoting high standards of doing business. UNDP has partnered with the Ukrainian Network of Integrity and Compliance (UNIC) established to ensure that companies that want to work transparently can be entered into a set of relationships that help them achieve their integrity goals. Over 55 companies in 46 cities have now joined the network, after agreeing to maintain good business reputations and constantly improve their own standards of integrity, in line with best international practices.

4. Working together for better results

A constructive and open dialogue between the business community and the state about integrity is crucial for improving the investment climate in the country,” says Marcus Brand, UNDP Democratic Governance Advisor and Team Leader in Ukraine. “Effective cooperation between the business sector and the wider public in this regard will help to build a culture of integrity, trust and fairness in Ukraine.

To build a platform for multi-stakeholder dialogue and cooperation, UNIC, with UNDP’s support, organized the Business Integrity Week (BIW) on 14–18 May 2018 in Kyiv, bringing together over 140 participants. This was the first year of what is intended to be an annual event aimed at promoting compliance, business integrity, and peer-to-peer exchange of best practices.

BIW discussions were followed by a series of seminars in 8 more Ukrainian cities throughout July-September 2018, engaging over 350 participants from the business community, state authorities, civil society, educational institutions, and the media to collaborate and reach out to a broader audience about business integrity.

The conversations held at seminars have the potential to serve as models for dialogue and to build trust in various organizations, at both the national and local levels.

The business integrity initiative is being implemented by UNDP’s Enhanced Public Sector Transparency and Integrity Project funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark (2015–2018).

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