On 10 March 2020, the representatives of more than 40 businesses and other stakeholders met at IHK Reutlingen to discuss the issue of “Compliance in foreign operations”. It is not only among customers that the demand for sustainably produced products is growing; the issues of compliance and integrity are also playing an increasingly important role for businesses.
Foreign business is a particular challenge, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises. This comes due to various reasons: interactions with foreign officials entail an increased risk of corruption, the legal frameworks and procedures vary from country to country and clarity decreases with the complexity of structures and supply chains.
But how can businesses act? A risk-based approach is the foundation for the success of compliance measures. Small and medium-sized enterprises in particular often do not have the human and financial resources to implement many corruption prevention measures simultaneously. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to start where the greatest risks lie.
In order to review and further improve compliance measures of enterprises in comparison to international standards,
the application and online platform TheIntegrityApp of the Alliance for Integrity and the Global Compact Network Germany serves as a beneficial tool.
In addition, there are a number of measures of relevance for all businesses. In this regard, Raphael Rozsa, Compliance Officer of Ritter Sport, referred to a code of conduct that is easily accessible and comprehensible for employees and which forms the basis for the actions of employees and whose content has to be pointed out through regular trainings.
Meanwhile, large, internationally acting businesses have sophisticated compliance systems that have been refined over years. Olaf Schick, Chief Compliance Officer of Daimler AG, introduced the compliance management system of his company and shared many interesting insights and experiences with the participants of the event.
Christopher Edwards and Giuseppe Benenati of the startup Xylene, which uses blockchain technology and satellite data to trace the origin of raw materials, also were invited to the discussion. The example clearly demonstrated the opportunities digitalisation offers for compliance and integrity.
The event was jointly organised by the networks Global Business, Sustainability, Purchasing and Sales of IHK Reutlingen, the DC-Scouts, the Global Compact Network Germany as well as the Alliance for Integrity.