A cornerstone of the Alliance for Integrity’s work is the DEPE (De Empresas para Empresas – From Businesses to Businesses) corruption prevention training. Together with more than 250 dedicated trainers from around the world, the initiative supports small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in developing and implementing effective compliance measures. Participants gain practical tools to solve problems related to corruption and to increase their competitiveness. The training programme is characterised by a very practical approach and it is oriented towards SMEs with little or no experience in countering corruption.
In response to the global pandemic and related constraints, the training programme has been digitalised in recent months and successfully implemented in different regions where the Alliance for Integrity is active. Based on participant’s feedback, the programme is continuously developed and improved. At the moment it covers ten different sectors and their respective target groups, including the healthcare sector, agriculture and state-owned enterprises (SOEs). In this way, we have already supported more than 3,000 company representatives on their path towards integrity.
In Brazil, the training programme has been specifically adapted to the needs of companies operating in the agricultural and healthcare sectors and has been implemented in cooperation with national partners from the public and private sectors.
In the adaptation for the agricultural and livestock sector, the Alliance for Integrity works closely with the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply (MAPA) and the Organisation of Brazilian Cooperatives (OCB) to help companies increase their compliance standards. The collaboration is part of the incentive policy promoted by MAPA. As starting point, MAPA launched the Agro+Integrity Seal, which is targeted at companies and cooperatives operating in the agricultural sector. The Seal aims to recognise and reward actions that promote good integrity practices, ethics, environmental sustainability and social responsibility. This joint activity is also supported by the Organisation of Cooperatives of Paraná (OCEPAR) which specifically reaches out to agricultural cooperatives in the state of Paraná.
The sectorial DEPE training for the agricultural sector was piloted for the first time in Brazil in September 2020. Fifteen cooperatives participated in the four-part training programme to learn from experienced compliance experts how to implement effective compliance measures. During the four sessions, we addressed the leading questions: What types of corruption exist in the sector? How can SMEs effectively counter unofficial requests? And what needs to be considered when implementing a compliance management system?
The training was led by Denise Iwakura, Compliance Officer at SAP, Roberta Codignoto, Partner at Pró Integridade, Maria Victoria Perottino, Senior Auditor at Unimed-BH, and Michelle Khairalla, Labour Legal Manager at DHL. The four DEPE trainers put special emphasis on best practices and practical solutions that the participants can apply to their everyday work. The shared knowledge will help them to enhance their compliance measures and consequently their competitiveness.
After the completion of all four modules, Roberta Codignoto drew a positive résumé: “For me as a trainer, the exchange with the participating SMEs is particularly valuable as they bring a new perspective to the topic.
I am happy to share my experience and help them to further improve their business.”
Encouraged by the high response, the second specific sectorial DEPE training took place in Brazil in November 2020. Together with the General Comptroller of the State of Pernambuco and national compliance experts, the training programme was adapted to the specific needs of companies operating in the healthcare sector. Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the sector is currently in the spotlight. The need to make quick decisions and adequately distribute limited resources, such as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), respirators and vaccines, make the sector vulnerable to corruption. To ensure the health of both patients and staff, high compliance standards and effective corruption prevention measures are particularly important.
Thirteen companies operating in the Brazilian healthcare sector joined the training programme that was led by Claudia Valente, Compliance & Risk Manager at Inova Saúde, Sandro Onofre, Compliance Senior Manager at Mercedes Benz, Matheus Leonel, Head of Compliance Brazil at Brookfield, and Marcia Muniz, Legal Director at Cisco. Within the four modules, the participants learnt how to gradually raise their integrity standards based on practical case studies and international best practices. Important milestones on this way are the regular conduct of a risk assessment, for example with the help of TheIntegrityApp, the implementation of an effective compliance management system as well as the understanding of how to behave correctly in dilemma situations. Once the training has been successfully completed, the participants can still count on the support of the trainers. Open questions can be asked at the Alliance for Integrity’s Support Desk and will be answered within 72 hours. In this way, it is ensured that the trainings have a long-term impact on the companies and support them sustainably in following their integrity path.
Urbano Vicente, representative of the Hospital do Tricentenario and participant in the training programme, summarised one of the main lessons learnt: “Incentives can help to promote a culture of integrity. Alongside this, sanctions are necessary to encourage companies to also consider the professional and personal consequences of their actions.”
The discussions in both trainings brought up valuable insights and allowed the participants to benefit from the trainers' knowledge as well as to exchange ideas among peer. Corruption is not a problem that individual actors can solve alone, nor is it a problem that only affects certain sectors. With this in mind, participants were encouraged to continue to join forces with others in the fight against corruption.
The positive feedback from both trainings highlighted the need to adapt the training programme to the specific needs of individual sectors and target groups to generate a greater impact. The Alliance for Integrity will therefore continue to follow the path taken. Further sector specific DEPE trainings are already planned for 2021, for example for women entrepreneurs, the construction sector, start-ups as well as an Integrity Journey in the agricultural and livestock sector of Brazil. All upcoming activities and the link to register can be found on the website of the Alliance for Integrity.
Author: Gabriela Faria