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Businesses come up with Code of Conduct

/ 06:26 PM September 14, 2011

MANILA, Philippines—Signatories to the Integrity Initiative, a private sector-led campaign to rid the country of corruption, have formulated a Unified Code of Conduct for Business to govern businessmen’s actions and ensure that their every transaction will be carried out with utmost integrity.

Asian Institute of Management president Edilberto de Jesus, who presented a copy of the Code of Conduct to President Aquino on Wednesday, said this should help ensure that “all market players will adhere to the same rules of the game.”

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“This is the result of more than five months of consultations and meetings. This is a collective effort of the private sector to conduct business with integrity and to signify cooperation with the government to combat corruption,” De Jesus said at the First Integrity Summit on Wednesday.

The Code covers various aspects of business organizations’ operations – from top management to human resources, sales and marketing, finance and accounting, procurement, and logistics.

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Under the Code, top-level executives are enjoined to lead “by consistently demonstrating the value of conducting business with integrity.” They should likewise communicate the integrity mantra to all their employees, from the highest to the lowest ranks in the organization.

Those in HR are compelled to instill a culture of integrity among employees, while those in sales and marketing should formulate clear guidelines on giving and receiving gifts to and from public or private institutions.

The finance and accounting departments are urged to ensure that their books and records are accurate and complete. In the area of procurement, the UCC calls on signatories to “keep a track record of integrity and compliance with existing laws” when dealing with suppliers. Logistics people are also enjoined to always abide by laws and regulations in supply chain management.

“We will continually strive to align our operations to the principles contained in this Code and periodically assess and monitor our compliance to it. We will continue to share best practices with the business community to strengthen ethical business processes in the Philippines,” the Code states.

Anti-corruption consultant and former head of operations at the Hong Kong Independent Commission against Corruption Tony Kwok said the war against corruption should not be left for the government alone to wage. Private individuals and businesses should do their part as well.

“Don’t ask why the government is failing to fight corruption. Ask yourselves. It takes two to tango,” he said in a presentation. “The Integrity Initiative is exactly what countries should do. The business sector should identify what it could do to make this country a better country.”

The Integrity Initiative is spearheaded by the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines and the Asian Institute of Management. To date, close to 700 companies have signed the Integrity Pledge, with the number expected to climb to 1,000 by year’s end.

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TAGS: Asian Institute of Management, Business, Code of Conduct, Corruption, Government, integrity initiative
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