Buenos Aires, Argentina
On 9 December 2019, the International Anti-Corruption Day, the Alliance for Integrity held the closing event of the “Passport to Integrity: Good Business for your Company” programme in Buenos Aires. The event recognised the ten participating companies that fully accomplished the program focus on the implementation of best practices in Business Integrity.
The Passport to Integrity is a programme developed in a co-creation process with the Argentinean network and Alliance for Integrity, implemented by Argentina by the German-Argentinean Chamber of Industry and Commerce (AHK Argentina) in cooperation with the Global Compact Network Argentina. It was conceived as a complement to the companies which already have participated in the “De Empresas Para Empresas” training. The programme aimed to develop the capacities of small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs) and state-owned enterprises (SOEs) to implement compliance systems, by providing material, training, practical tools and mentoring from experts in compliance.
As a business goal-oriented programme, the participants had to select one of the four business objectives (Participate in a Tendering Process; Receive Investments; Supply Goods and Services to Large Businesses; and Interact with Public Servants) as a starting point. Afterwards, they chose a category (silver, gold or platinum), according to the level of robustness of the compliance system to be implemented.
Among the past months, the Passport to Integrity required of the participants the implementation of elements of a compliance management system as risk assessment; code of ethics; specific procedures for relationships with public servants, transparency of purchases and sales, gifts and hospitality; reporting channel and due diligence for third parties. Finally, the companies carried out a self-assessment on the digital tool TheIntegrityApp to measure their efforts during the year.
To open the event, Carolina Echevarria, Regional Manager Latin America for the Alliance for Integrity, and Barbara Konner, Executive Vice President of AHK Argentina, welcomed and thanked the Passport for Integrity participants and the project supporters in Argentina. Marcelo Scaglione, Undersecretary of State for Argentina OECD Accession, delivered the keynote speech, in which he highlighted the main challenges and opportunities for establishing a successful integrity programme. “Over-regulation is a toll that we put on businesses that become a risk factor for corruption”, Scaglione said. Then, Facundo Rodríguez, from the Compliance Department of AHK Argentina, conducted a retrospective of the Passport stages and thanked the trainers for their guidance to the companies.
The participants have joined the panel “Passport to Integrity: A success story to tell”, moderated by Ariadne Souza, Focal Point of the Alliance for Integrity for Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, to discuss the impact that the implementation of a compliance system had on their companies. “When we got the support of management and their conviction that compliance is an investment and not an expense, we got the cultural change we needed”, expressed Adrian Finochiario, from Hipódromo Argentino de Palermo, one of the participating organisations.
Bearing in mind the reflections raised by the International Anti-Corruption Day, Dalma Parisi, Siemens' Compliance Officer for South America, and Dorothea Garff, Senior Associate at Beccar y Varela, debated the need for the involvement of civil society actors, to deepen partnerships in an anti-corruption agenda. At the end of the event, the companies received their participation certificates and signed a commitment to promote integrity in Argentina's business environment.
Initiatives such as the Passport to Integrity reaffirm the need to disseminate good practices to make companies more effective and sustainable, with the development of tools and concrete solutions to tackle corruption. Joint success stories are essential for trust between stakeholders to flourish and drive the business environment to more prosperous destinations.
Author: Renato Ortega