Building A Culture of Integrity

March 07, 2017 In-Focus

The Makati Business Club (MBC) and European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) formed the Integrity Initiative in 2010. What started as a project has meanwhile resulted in the creation of the Integrity Initiative, Inc. (II, Inc.).n, Inc. is a non­profit organization, with five founding shareholders: MBC, ECCP, American Chamber of Commerce, Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) and Finex.

It is primarily engaged in a long­-term private sector-­led campaign to promote common ethical and acceptable integrity standards in the business community and among various sectors of society.

The following describes the key achievements of the II, Inc. so far:

  1. Created an "Integrity Pledge" for both the public and private sector which provides key measures and control activities intended to ensure transparency and integrity in business transactions. Signatories to the pledge commit themselves to the performance of these measures and controls by adopting a"Unified Code of Conduct" for doing business. The Integrity Pledge signatories today number over 3,000 and include 45 government agencies and 233 business and industry associations, and professional organizations nationwide. 5,000 new certified public accountants (CPAs) also recited and signed the Integrity Pledge as of July 2016 as part of a new partnership with the Board of Accountancy.

  2. Developed an Online Integrity Assessment Tool for signatories to assess their level of complianceand gaps in their integrity management systems, policies and practices. Out of more than three thousand plus signatories to the Integrity Pledge, 256 have signed up for the online Integrity Self­ Assessment tool,while 33 companies with self­assessment ratings have been validated by the Integrity Initiative, 16 of which have achieved the highest "advanced" rating. To help companies address gaps and achieve advanced status in their integrity assessment and validation, II Inc. has developed learning modules, conducted integrity planning workshops, and developed a system for third party validation of company self­assessment.

  3. Established an Integrity Consortium (ICon) comprised of 233 organizations working with the private sector. These organizations encourage and/or require their members to sign the pledge and, together as a consortium for integrity, engage with other sectors of society to build a culture of integrity and promote the formation of Integrity Circles. The ICon is also tapped for the annual Integrity Nation Now Summit and Campaign to spread the advocacy across sectors and regions including the ASEAN. The II, Inc. has also established partnerships with other international, regional and local organizations as well as enterprises to promote sharing of information and research capabilities as well as sharing of financial and technical resources.

  4. Six private sector networks signed an MOU on regional cooperation on anti­corruption in the ASEAN business community, paving the way for the establishment of the Regional Working Group on Business Integrity with the purpose of creating a culture of integrity in the ASEAN business community, moving towards a corruption­free ASEAN. Another regional campaign to combat corruption is the "Integrity Has No Borders"—an advocacy campaign that aims to create an enabling environment for companies to say "NO" to corruption and bribery, regardless of where they are in the ASEAN, to pave the way for shared growth and progress.

Much still needs to be done:

  • The business sector at large has to understand that unethical business practices cannot remain the norm if we truly want the Philippines to compete globally, attract more investments, and achieve inclusive growth. The private sector in partnership with the government and other sectors must do their part in ensuring that the anti­corruption efforts and current progress is firmly anchored on the principles of fair competition, good corporate governance, and social responsibility.

  • The private sector may support institutionalizing anticorruption efforts by emphasizing the need among business people to conduct their business in an ethical manner.

  • Furthermore, we recommend that governmentincentivize compliance and recognize organizations that commit to improve their integrity systems.As part of the Open Government Partnership, the Integrity Initiative will best deliver on its committed 10,000 signatories by the end of 2017 if an Executive Order in support of ethical business practice will be signed by the President. A draft E.O. has been submitted to both the Executive Secretary and the Secretary of Finance.