Together for integrity, social responsibility and sustainable development
Transparency International-Romania (TI-Ro), together with its partners, GDSI Ireland and Softwin Romania, are the promoters of the project no POSDRU/93/3.3/S/63280, ”Together for integrity, social responsibility and sustainable development”, through the Sectoral Operational Programme for the Development of Human Resources financed from European Social Funds.
The project comes in a moment in which debates regarding business integrity and ethics are increasingly present on the international economic stage. The recent economic crisis has shown once more the need to strengthen the principles of good governance, based on transparency and integrity, most importantly due to the fact that the business sector may be easily considered a hub for a state’s social and economic growth, largely due to its contribution to the development of a modern, dynamic, knowledge based economy which contributes to the creation of jobs.
The overall objective of the project
The overall purpose of the project is developing the capacity of social partners, civil society organizations and of business organizations to act together towards sustainable development and increasing the adaptability of the Romanian business sector to the European Standards by promoting an ethical and socially responsible business sector. This can only be achieved by increasing awareness on issues concerning social responsibility and business integrity. With this project Transparency International Romania wishes to help create an ethical and socially responsible entrepreneurial environment, as well as to help increase the adaptability of the Romanian business sector to the European standards. Transparency International Romania envisages demonstrating that the long term success of a business is not based only on the work load or by being focused on the final product but also on the capability of adopting unpopular measures, when necessary, and on its responsibility towards both its clients as well as employees.
The results of the 1st year of project implementation
In 2011, the project was launched during an international conference organized by Transparency International Romania in collaboration with Transparency International Secretariat, from Berlin. The conference was attended by different important actors pertaining to the business sector, academic sector, civil society as well as governmental institutions from 43 states. Moreover, during the conference the Centre of Integrity in Business was launched as well, with the motto: Together for integrity.
By organizing such events Transparency International aims to create a platform of discussion and networking for the business sector, governmental authorities, civil society and academic world, in which issues such as vulnerability costs to the reputation and sustainability of business are debated. Among the subjects approached all throughout the project we can find: How important business integrity is to the Government as well as to the private sector? How governmental policies and internal regulation of industries interact? Is a greater convergence of rules and practices on a corporate level both desirable and feasible?
Furthermore, still within its first year of the project, Transparency International Romania, with the help of its research department, conducted two studies regarding integrity and ethics in the Romanian business sector: „Instruments and tendencies regarding business integrity” and „Business integrity in Romania – A research on mechanisms of institutionalization of ethics in companies”. They underline the importance of social and civic dialogue by involving social partners and civil society in structural reforms.
The research studies were launched in the presence of high level representatives of the private sector, public institutions but also of the civil society and academic sector. The events represented a great opportunity to promote our organization’s initiative.
The results of the 2nd year of project implementation
In the second year of the project, in 2012, Transparency International Romania started the training sessions on integrity, social responsibility and sustainable development in Romania. The subjects approached within these training sessions are: Social responsibility, Ethics management and sustainable development, Social dialogue and advocacy and Compliance management. The sessions are structured into two modules: the first one is a classic training module, and the second is an online training module, on an e-learning platform specially designed for this project.
However, increasing society’s awareness with regard to integrity both in the business as well as in the public sector, cannot be limited to a series of training sessions, albeit a large group of people pertaining to the business sector, public administration, civil society or academia gain more knowledge on the matter. For this reason and due to the results of the research studies conducted in the first year of implementation, the team at Transparency International Romania started an advocacy campaign which consisted in a series of regulatory acts, which came as solutions for the vulnerability to corruption identified in both private and public sectors. These documents approached issues such as:
- Standardizing integrity and accountability in the public sector
The regulatory act encompasses the following:
- Integrity and compliance standards for public institutions
- Corporate governance in the field of state owned business integrity
- Integrity and transparency standards in public transactions
The main objectives of the regulatory act were:
- Decreasing by up to 30% the losses from the public sector
- Increasing capital by changing the business climate
- The recovery of the business environment
- Decreasing unemployment
- Decreasing the strain on the budget
- Improving state rating
- Introducing a personal financial responsibility system for the management (professional insurance)
- Draft of law regarding a certificate of compliance for public institutions and authorities.
- Increasing society’s level of trust in public institutions
- Prevents the temptation for corrupt practices.
- Reduces running costs
- Decreases the number of felonies committed and undiscovered within these public institutions
Benefits for society:
- The mechanism reduces discretionary settlements of citizens (ensures solving petitions equally and equitable).
- Increases the accountability and responsibility of all those involved.
- Introduces the evaluation mechanism, evaluation which will be performed by an external observer, which will ensure the impartiality in the evaluation process.
Objectives for the 3rd year of project implementation
2013 represents the final year of the project’s implementation process, but that does not mean that all actions initiated will end. The sustainability of the project is an essential factor in the changes we want to set in motion both in the public as well as in the private sector on a long term basis. Therefore, the focus in this last year of project is on establishing and promoting the Centre for Integrity in Business (CIB).
The centre was established with the objective of promoting an ethical and socially responsible entrepreneurial environment, and of consolidating the good governance principles, based on transparency and integrity, in order to help companies regain their operational independence.
The overall purpose of the centre is to promote long-term solutions for strengthening transparency and integrity based good governance within companies and to develop sectorial partnerships between the public sector, private sector and civil society. CIB will represent a space for dialogue between the three sectors of society and will provide the necessary resources to support this high level dialogue.
CIB will provide integrated support for:
- Training employees in corporate integrity and ethics management
- Planning and assistance on issues of compliance
- Monitoring and evaluating integrity and transparency standards
- Internal anti-fraud programmes
The final implementation year will end with a grand event scheduled to take place at the end of November 2013, when Transparency International Romania will organize an international conference meant to celebrate the three years of hard work, dedication and perseverance, but also help promote future endeavours in the field of ethics, integrity and social responsibility through the Centre for Integrity in Business. Moreover during this even, the organization will launch the Pact for Integrity and Transparency in Business in Romania, a document whose framework was set during a roundtable discussion on the 11th of July held with top Romanian companies on issues of integrity, transparency and conformity.
The reason for which Transparency International Romania started this project and came up with the Pact for Integrity and Transparency within the Romanian business sector was that it wanted to help develop a culture of integrity and transparency within the Romanian business sector.
The event will be attended by key stakeholders from the public and private sectors, academia and civil society both on a national as well as on an international level, among these we can mention: European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, UNDP, IMF, International Commerce Organizations, Romanian Bilateral Chambers of Commerce, Raiffeisen, Deloitte, UniCredit, Tiriac Bank, representatives of central public institutions from Romania, and many others.