Can high compliance standards be a competitive advantage when doing business? This was the main question at the Alliance for Integrity’s event at the AHK World Conference on 10 May 2016 in Berlin. The AHK World Conference is the annual global get-together of the German chambers of commerce abroad to discuss current trends in business and trade.
First, Mark Pieth, Chairman of the Board, Basel Institute on Governance, and well-known anti-corruption specialist provided input on the topic, capitalising on the importance of compliance, not only to protect companies against liabilities but also as a business case for clean companies, leading to better quality. Mr. Pieth’s impulse was followed by a short presentation of the 2016 TRAC-EM study on transparency in corporate reporting in emerging market countries by Katja Bechtel, Transparency International. The full results of the study will be released later this year.
The threads came together in the ensuing panel discussion that was made up of Markus Bamberger, Chief Compliance Officer, Merck KGaA; Evgeny Kiselev, Corporate Compliance Manager, SAP Moskau; Barbara Konner, Managing Director, AHK Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay; Markus Lötzsch, Managing Director, Nuremberg Chamber of Commerce and Industry; and Manfred Nötzel, Prosecutor General, Munich. The panel was moderated by Noor Naqschbandi, Director of the Alliance for Integrity. Panelists agreed that the slogan “Made in Germany” stands for reliable products but also high integrity standards. Recent compliance issues show just how important integrity is as a distinctive feature for German companies doing business abroad. Furthermore, the panelists debated the need to consider cultural differences when implementing compliance management on a global level. Finally, the important role of the German Chambers of Commerce in building capacities for compliance was debated.