The Integrity Journey was a milestone in the history of the Alliance for Integrity and advanced the work of the initiative to promote integrity in global supply chains. The mid-term mentoring programme is specifically designed to train small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in corruption prevention. The Journey comprises ten stages, including a kick-off event, online seminars and a DEPE (De Empresas para Empresas – from Companies to Companies) corruption prevention training. Upon successful completion of the programme, participants are able to set up, implement and continuously monitor an effective compliance management system. The success of the Integrity Journey in Argentina, Brazil and India is based on a Collective Action approach, where partners from the private sector, public sector and civil society work closely together to accompany SMEs on their path towards integrity.
To increase the impact of the Integrity Journey, the training programme has been adapted to the specific needs and corruption-related challenges of the Brazilian agricultural sector. The cornerstone of this specification is the close partnership between the Alliance for Integrity and the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply (MAPA). In 2019, the global initiative became member of the Management Committee of the Agro+Integrity Seal. The Seal aims to recognise and reward actions of Brazilian cooperatives that promote good integrity practices, ethics, environmental sustainability and social responsibility.
The agricultural sector plays an important role in the Brazilian economy, as it ensures domestic food supply and is also highly requested in the foreign market. The global presence increases the need for companies to comply with international compliance standards. The Agri Integrity Journey aims to support companies, especially SMEs, on this path and provide them with the necessary information and tools to establish effective compliance mechanisms in the long run.
Together with MAPA and the Organisation of Cooperatives of Brazil (OCB), the Alliance for Integrity hosted a co-creation workshop to adapt the training materials to the business reality of companies operating in the Brazilian agricultural sector.
In the first part of the workshop, participants reflected on the previous Integrity Journey that took part in 2019. Which tools and information particularly helped the companies to increase their integrity standards, what can still be improved and what learnings can be transferred to the new edition of the Journey?
Juliana Cunha, representative of Grupo Impuls and former participant of the Integrity Journey, shared her experiences and emphasised the importance of the commitment of all stakeholders involved. The Collective Action approach has allowed to include different perspectives and to get a comprehensive view on corruption prevention. “The expert knowledge has helped us a lot in achieving our integrity goals. Due to our strengthened compliance measures, we can now report a huge increase in human and financial capital,” stated Juliana. However, the path to this point also held some challenges, which the company overcame with the help of the trainers. “It is a Herculean task to apply all laws to our business reality, to overcome internal barriers and to implement all processes with a small budget. Moreover, one cannot neglect the importance of practical experience in implementing compliance mechanisms, as the topic of integrity is vast and involves many variables”, she added. A best practice that has proven successful at Grupo Implus is the active participation of top management in the risk assessment process. Dealing openly with possible risk factors also encourages staff to talk about weak points in their area, which in turn makes it easier to mitigate them properly.
In the second part, the group focused on defining the business objectives that each company is free to choose before starting the Integrity Journey. In order to better meet the needs and objectives of SMEs and cooperatives in the agricultural sector of Brazil, members agreed on aspects such as participation in public tenders or being part of the supply chain of international corporations.
The outcome of this Collective Action far exceeded expectations. More than 40 stakeholders actively participated in the workshop and committed to support the Agri Integrity Journey with their knowledge, time and other resources. The results of this collective effort were captured by an artist who graphically summarised the main points and ideas of the participants.
The Agri Integrity Journey officially starts on 22 July 2021 and ends in the framework of the International Anti-Corruption Day on 09 December. For more information, please visit the website of the Alliance for Integrity.
Author: Camila Rocha