The Regional Business Integrity Conference: Culture of Business Integrity – Pathway to Sustainability and Success was designed to provide a platform for Working Group on Business Integrity in ASEAN, key partners and stakeholders to participate in interactive high-level dialogues, and practical sharing of best practices and experiences.
The overall objectives were :-
- Raise awareness and understanding of business integrity and its linkage with sustainable growth
- Encourage businesses and key players to make official commitment of upholding high integrity standards, including high standards of transparency and accountability
- Provide Working Group on Business Integrity in ASEAN, partners and other key stakeholders with the know-hows and collective actions platform to fight corruption and bribery in business transactions, create level playing field and promote business’s long-term sustainability and success
"Providing an opportunity to come together and share ideas and expand boundaries"
"The examples shared on businesses navigating the difficulties with regards to culture, values and integrity were very helpful and encouraging"
Time 9.00am - 6.00pm
Venue Amara Hotel, Singapore
165 Tanjong Pagar Road
6 March 2017 - Session 1: Welcome and Opening Remarks
On the first day of our conference 6 March, the session was opened with Welcome Remarks from Ms Yanti Triwadiantini (Chair, ASEAN CSR Network), followed by Opening Remarks by the following Ambassadors and speaker. They shared on "Building a corruption-free and sustainable ASEAN community: opportunities and challenges". In developing countries, corruption, bribery, theft and tax evasion accounted for up to USD $1.26 trillion annually. That amount of money could have been used to elevate those out of the poverty line. The impact of corruption could add up to 10% of the cost of doing business in many parts of the world. It is hoped that regardless where one was in ASEAN, businesses will say 'No' to corruption, this will in turn, lead to much shared growth and prosperity. This conference provided research findings, case studies, workshop and networking opportunities, particularly amongst participants who could find ways to work together.
Ms Yanti Triwadiani H.E. Scott Wightman H.E. Hakan Jevrell
(Chair, ASEAN CSR Network) (British High Commissioner) (Ambassador of Sweden to Singapore and Brunei Darussalam)
H.E. Lynn McDonald Mr Michael Tang
(Canadian High Commissioner to Singapore) (Vice President, Head, Listing Policy and Product
Admission, Regulation, Singapore Exchange (SGX))
Session 2: Panel Discussion "Enhancing a culture of integrity in business: enforcing ethical business regulations"
This session saw Mr Christopher Hodges delivering a keynote speech. Business studies had shown that companies who adopted a values-based approach, based on how they delivered value to all their stakeholders tend to do very well commercially. To enable a culture of integrity in businesses, a regulatory system will be most effective in affecting the behaviour of individuals where it supported ethical and fair behaviour. It also needed to be supported by other principles such as ethical regulators and businesses, there should be a constant learning culture so as to support an open collaborative 'no blame' culture and proportionate responses are expected when people break rules or behave immorally. Regulators should move towards focusing more on on outcomes and businesses need to be self assured that they were being responsible.
A Panel discussion soon followed to continue on this topic of "Enabling a culture of intergrity in business: enforcing ethical business regulations". It was noted that there was no one solution that fitted all, one needed to take into consideration the different cultures and practices, and this would also vary from country to country within ASEAN. However, there were many available resources that one could tap but it is important that the various stakeholders collectively work together in advancing the common agenda. This way, it could lead to better collaboration and more sustainable efforts.
Mr Christopher Hodges L- R: Mr Christopher Hodges, Ms Tengku Ida Ismail, Questions raised by participants
Professor of Justice Systems, Mr Francesco Checchi, Mr Loh Yoon Min, Prof Lawrence Loh
Head of Swiss Re/CMS Research and Mr Chan Yoon
Programme on Civil Justice Systems
Centre for Social Legal Systems
University of Oxford
Session 3: Panel Discussion - "Towards sustainability: incorporating ethics and integrity into business strategy"
Session 3's keynote address was delivered by Mr Thomas Thomas on behalf of Mr Rapee Sucharitakul. His address touched on the importance of cultivating ethics and integrity into business strategy. Both ethics and integrity play a pivotal roles in determining the success or failure of the company and can have implications to the society as a whole. However, ethics, integrity and sustainability do not materialise naturally, they require the right mind set and /or a thorough understanding of its importance. It also needed a supportive ecosystem that was built on regulatory, market and self-discipline.
This was followed by a panel discussion who continued to share on "Towards sustainability: incorporating ethics and integrity into business strategy". The panellists noted that increasingly, more businesses were interested to know more about their 'moral' information versus the past, whereby the focus was perhaps skewed towards mainly financial information. Businesses had also been asked about their impact on the community, be it from investors, potential new employees or stock exchanges. This indirectly caused some pressure on businesses to be cautious and conscious about how they should 'behave'. It is generally agreed that more could be done in the areas of ethics and integrity but it was encouraging to note that more businesses were moving towards this direction.
Secretary - General Securities and CEO, ASEAN CSR Network Beth, Mr Ian Prescott and Mr Ian Hong
Exchange Commission, Thailand (He spoke on behalf of Mr Rapee)
Session 4: Case Studies - "Restoring business integrity : What works and What does not?"
Corruption undermines the quality of goods procured, hence, affecting the service delivery and deprive citizens of the rightful services that they should be expecting. In this workshop, speakers provided a further understanding, challenges and possible solutions faced to mitigate such risks. Participants were split into groups to discuss and shared further their concerns, especially in the areas of seeking government contracts and in the process, also recommended risk mitigation strategies for government, private sectors as well as suggested other initiatives that may affect other stakeholders.
The Working Group on Business Integrity and Partners are a group of private sector networks who believed and committed to promote business integrity in ASEAN. They comprise representatives from Indonesia Business Links (IBL), International Chamber of Commerce - Malaysia (ICC - M), Integrity Initiative (Philippines), Global Compact Network Singapore (GCNS), Thailand's Private Sector's Collective Action Coalition against Corruption (CAC) and Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI). The group provided their respective updates on their on-going and planned activities to combat anti-corruption, the challenges and opportunties met as well as expectations of working with each other as well as with other partners.
Apart from the working group, there was also sharing by other partners such as UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), UN Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), Transparency International (TI), Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business (MCRB), Alliance for Integrity (GIZ). They too, similarly provided some updates on their current efforts, challenges.
It was generally agreed that there were alot of initiatives currently taking place and the constant push for businesses to be responsible. It was possible to look at some 'Go To" standards e.g. ISO 37001 and encourage businesses to adopt them. There was also a need for greater collaboration amongst them, to work together more harmoniously and push this agenda of promoting anti-corruption cohesively.
The representatives concluded this meeting with a review and update of an Action / Work Plan 2017 - 2018. One of the outcomes of this meeting was also the signing of the regional business integrity pledge "Integrity Has No Borders" which sealed a further commitment in spromoting and upholding the principles of transparency, integrity and accountability. This complements the existing National Business Ingtegrity Pledges.
Working Group on Business Integrity and Partners
We are in the midst of developing the full report on this. Please look out for this page.
For more information on ACN's efforts in promoting Business Integrity, please visit this in our website programme page.