"We are convinced that Collective Action is particularly suited to overcome the consequences of the pandemic. By sharing knowledge and experiences, we are poised to make better decisions more quickly. Collective Action also helps to ensure that actions by governments, businesses and civil society are transparent and can complement each other in a meaningful way for the benefit of all."
– Susanne Friedrich, Director of the Alliance for Integrity.
On this topic page we provide information, activities, best practice examples and statements of our partners and supporters on the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on business integrity.
The topic page will be continuously updated with new content and material. We invite you to join us in order to overcome the crisis together and to spread the important message that compliance and integrity are now more important than ever.
We are in a global crisis that is shaking the very foundations of our society. In addition to health systems, politics and culture, the economy is particularly hard hit. The fragility of global supply chains is evident. Small and medium-sized enterprises are threatened of their existence if orders and supplies are not received.
There are now several challenges to be mastered: In the short term, companies must ensure the health and safety of their employees to work and deliver on set targets. The automation of operations is now a reality for organisations. At the same time, transparency must be created within the supply chain in order to gain an overview of where which materials can be produced and procured. In the medium and long term, the aim will be to make up for the losses suffered and also with the help of governmental programmes to make the economy strong again and better prepared for future crises.
Ethical principles and integrity should be our reference code as we set the course for the society of tomorrow under great pressure. The guiding principles of equal opportunities and participation are more important than ever if we do not want to pave the way for further, possibly even more far-reaching crises.
At Alliance for Integrity, providing formats that support the exchange of experiences and joint learning in dealing with the crisis is at the core of our contribution in these difficult times especially for individuals involved in compliance and business integrity.
We are convinced that Collective Action is particularly suited to overcome the consequences of the pandemic. By sharing knowledge and experiences, we are poised to make better decisions more quickly.
SMEs have very limited financial and personnel resources for compliance. Yet, the pandemic and the accelerating digitalisation of operations underline the need to update corruption risk assessments and adapt compliance policies and regulations. Collective Action is especially helpful in this regard. SMEs benefit from the pooling of resources, peer-learning and the sharing of knowledge. Good practice examples from other companies can provide impulses to implement digital and innovative approaches in SMEs.
Compliance officers from larger companies also have a vital role to play. Their technical knowledge and practical experience are in high demand among SMEs that are currently adapting their compliance procedures. Getting private sector, public sector, civil society and international organisations together to join forces for integrity is also key to ensure that standards are upheld during the crisis.
And last but not least, Collective Action fosters transparency in times where large amounts of public spending are dedicated to relieving the economic and social consequences of Covid-19. In this context, trust in our institutions is the backbone to build more resilient societies.
We therefore invite you to promote this approach and to actively participate in our virtual activities that you can find on our website and social media channels.
“During this era of slowed down economic activities globally, SMEs need to comply with global as well as national directives on business integrity and collective action measures that promote a responsible business environment.”
“In these disruptive times, we are encouraged to take stock of our business processes with our employees and our supply chains to avoid the temptation of compromise and corruption.”
“All businesses and human are at risk during the Covid-19 pandemics, but threats from Coronavirus had severely exposed leaders and organisations that lack integrity.”
“During a pandemic, it is important to provide right and transparent information as well as education that leads to encourage all parties including the businesses to be aware and to comply to health guidance and protocols as issued by the competent authorities in order to prevent and/or decrease the spreading of the virus.”
“In such a turbulent situation it is expected of each of us to comply with guidelines issued by authorities. Businesses will have to assure that all prescribed norms are strictly adhered. This will be a great contribution to the society we live in.”
"From compliance perspective, in any situation, integrity and clean business should be our top priority as they are the basis for sustainable business.”
“We believe that a continuous commitment to integrity in every situation, including the ongoing outbreak of Covid-19, is of the utmost importance.”
“Transparency plays an important role in mitigating the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. It will create public trust thus generate public participation and this can avoid the worst effects of the crisis.”
“Covid-19 is a challenge for everybody in our company. Colleagues in home office, some of them only working part-time with limited resources and increasing pressure to stay profitable does not make life easier. The more important it is that we as the Compliance team stay closely in touch with our colleagues to support an all related Compliance matters.”
“Covid-19 makes us as a company rethink the way we work. Administrative hurdles are lowered if necessary, some decisions have to be taken faster and more employees are working remotely. Compliance has to adapt to this new reality of work without falling short of its standards. In times like these, this is the way how we can ensure integrity and quality – towards our customers, our employees and our company.”
"Effective compliance work also thrives on intensive personal communication. In times of distance and home office this happens only to a very limited extent. Compliance officers must take care especially now that they do not lose contact with employees and thus with the business and related risks."
"The right thing to do for compliance in normal times is not less right in times of crisis. Otherwise we would struggle hard to come back to where we are.“
“I believe that today, more than ever, in the digital age in which we live and facing a crisis that affects us all, we have the opportunity to add our values of solidarity and integrity to the way we do business.”
“In uncertain times like these, the culture and sustainability of organisations are really put to test. Those companies that are not tempted to weaken their compliance programmes in favour of economic continuity will be rewarded for strengthening their reputation and business models based on integrity."
“It is in these extreme conditions of unprecedented crisis that ethics and integrity take on their greatest relevance.”
“Our policy of business integrity contributed to the measures taken to cope with the pandemic.
Already in the process of cancelling activities, we preserved the health of our employees and reaffirmed our social commitment by joining the #NãoDemita (#DontFire) movement.
It helped us to raise our employees' sense of responsibility through an open approach, offering information and removing doubts without linking this to the conclusion of additional contracts or services. Thus, we showed a real interest in taking the best direction with the client in a transparent way.
We know that negotiations in the near future may be influenced by the great concern of companies to survive. We will stick to our approach, believing that we will benefit from going through this difficult phase in a pro-active manner. Thus, we maintain all the premises for the period of economic recovery.”
“It is in these difficult times that the integrity of organisations is tested the most. How companies act today is how they will be remembered by their members and the society for the rest of their existence.”
"Don’t let the crisis put your values at risk and know that integrity will always prevail."
“Integrity will be crucial during and after the pandemic. Stakeholders will reward organisations that take comprehensive action during the pandemic without using the loopholes left by legislation to engage in fake deals. Once society returns to a "normal" rhythm of life, stakeholders will reward those organisations that have behaved in the most exemplary manner according to the circumstances. They will gain credibility, access to credit and will have more motivated employees. Integrity is therefore like a compass that will enable companies to steer this storm and to be optimally positioned when conditions return to normal.”
“When extraordinary measures are taken in emergencies, the role of compliance with local laws and internal company regulations is even more important. The main thing we have to monitor now is the correct handling of employees’ personal health data.”
“The crisis changes us and helps us to evolve. The digital transformation is necessary to maintain compliance. We are faced with a cultural change that challenges us to be active.”
“Integrity, ethics and transparency are not topics that are currently fading into the background. On the contrary: they are more present than ever. From this point of view, personal responsibility and ethics, whether in relation to the risk of spreading the disease, caring for others, ethics while working from home or when working methods change very quickly, are now more important than ever. This is now an opportunity to learn, to develop other modalities and to show that integrity is relevant and applicable to all the circumstances in which we find ourselves.”
“Compliance professionals must have a very strong sense of empathy during this period of crisis, as well as in the reconstruction of economic activities. The balance between a firm stance and sensitivity will be fundamental for conducting business in an ethical, integral and constructive way.”
"In these times of crisis, when business activity is significantly declining, we need to strengthen business integrity as a preventive tool that enables companies and organisations to manage legal, contractual and normative compliance well.”
“The global crisis has shown that corruption risks can increase. It is therefore important to strengthen compliance measures and to create a culture of integrity aiming to mitigate risks and to raise awareness of the relevance of adhering to transparent processes. A sustainable business requires that the business purpose is aligned with sustainable integrity values.”
“The use of technology and digital innovations enables us to carry out controls and inspections of operations remotely, which I believe is important not only in future, but already today. Technology will be of great importance to ensure that transparency controls continue to be carried out.”
"Adopting a culture of business integrity strengthens the lines of defense in times of crisis and will build the foundation for a shared future well-being.”
"The exceptional circumstances caused by the ongoing Covid-19 crisis raise the challenge of maintaining integrity within the work of organisations and companies. Maintaining transparent processes and making decisions in accordance with the principles of the organisation remains at least as relevant as in times of normality. This increases the responsibility of senior management towards employees, customers and suppliers."
"This pandemic is an opportunity to be better leaders and entrepreneurs, but, above all, better human beings."
“Agility in response to the health emergency does not need to be in conflict with the fundamental principles of transparency and good governance.”
‘’The current global disruption has demonstrated that strong but empathetic leadership, transparency, and open and honest communication can and does encourage compliance with a minimum of enforcement. Such an approach engenders a collective consciousness of the need to act in a way that is good for all as opposed to good for the individual. In the aftermath of the pandemic, governments and businesses must recognize the need to reshape and refocus their approaches to ethics, compliance and integrity, and grasp the opportunities to create a climate that can strengthen trust, relationships and reputations.’’
“Integrity matters, especially in a time of crisis, especially in the water sector. Service delivery under emergency conditions can, either unwittingly or deliberately, open the door for corruption, and reductions in accountability and transparency practices that may have been built up over years. We call on governments around the world to ensure that the water sector becomes an island of integrity, during and after this crisis, starting today.”
Learn more about best practice examples from all around the world.
Together against Covid-19! That’s the motto of the German Global Compact Network that provides a list of partner commitments in the fight against the pandemic. Please find the complete overview (in German language) here.
The digital matchmaking platform leverist.de connects companies with business opportunities in development cooperation. In response to the ongoing outbreak of Covid-19, the platform is now extended and includes requests and offers from companies – as far as they are relevant to the crisis and development. For more information please click here.
Corruption diverts funds that are intended to fight the Covid-19 pandemic. For this reason, the Mexican Government has created a special platform for corruption related complaints caused by Covid-19. Please find the platform (in Spanish language) here!
Our partner AMPEC developed specific recommendations for compliance officers in times of Covid-19. Together, the compliance experts can become guardians of integrity. Read more (in Spanish language) here!
In the past months, the Alliance for Integrity has carried out various online seminars and web formats that address relevant issues in the context of the current crisis. Summaries of the most important takeaways can be downloaded as PDF files.
Discover interesting publications of our partners on current and past crises.