In the light of increased corporate governance needs with a complex web of laws and diminishing compliance, CII-ITC CESD in the year 2015 started the project ‘Promotion and Adoption of Responsible Business Practices by Corporates in India’ under the Global Siemens Integrity Initiative. The Global Siemens Integrity Initiative helps stakeholders, especially compliance officers and top-level managers of business organisations who participate in the project to raise standards and create awareness about compliance, business integrity and ethical business practices. This project highlights interests of varied stakeholders by providing a common platform for dialogue, subsequently helps strengthens the rule of law.
The project gives due consideration to these and helps foster ethical business practices. The prime objectives may be summarised as:
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The project aims to create a responsible business environment among corporates at different levels through its three objectives: Create, Educate and Sustain.
CREATE awareness to promote, facilitate and craft collective action initiatives on anti-corruption issues and Indian Standards.
EDUCATE to capacitate Indian business networks with the implementation of anti-corruption initiatives and good governance practices.
SUSTAIN through integrity learning to foster a clean and transparent business environment.
In order to achieve the above, the project will facilitate companies through five dimensions of support:
CII-ITC CESD offers services to promote and support systemic intervention in the following areas.
The one-day workshop will cover the differences between a Code of Ethics and a Code of Conduct, the best practices for managing diversity, performance appraisals that reward ethical behaviors, the Ethics chain in Corporate Value Creation, aligning community outreach with the company's mission and assets and how to manage three internal communication mechanisms for employees to report potentially unethical or illegal behaviors: Ethics & Compliance Office, Ombudsman, and Ethics Hotlines.
CESD has conducted webinars on various topics of ethics and responsible business. These webinars can be accessed on the following links.
In 2016, four regional conference were organised with the objective to increase outreach geographically and over various topics.
Eight roadshows focusing on direct interaction and discussion with stakeholders were conducted in prime cities like Chandigarh, Jaipur, Vadodara, Bhopal, Chennai, Bangalore, Bhubaneswar and Kolkata. The roadshows were attended by participants representing diverse industries such as, healthcare, hospitality, manufacturing, infrastructure and institutions such as Institute of Chartered Accountants of India. During the sessions, many aspects of corporate governance such as hurdles in implementation, effectiveness of standard practices were also discussed.
National conference on Striking the Right Balance: Integrating Ethical Business Practices in collaboration with IACA, Vienna was organised on 21 February 2017. Outcome of the session included capacity building of over 150 industrial leaders, academicians, civil society members and other stakeholders through discussion at the pan-India level regarding issues in implementation of good corporate governance practices.
Special sessions on Business Ethics were organised during the CII-ITC CESD’s 11th, 12th and 13th Sustainability Summit in 2016, 2017 and 2018, respectively.
i) In the 11th Sustainability Summit in 2016, a session on ‘Responsible Businesses are Profitable Businesses’ was organised under the project and a panel of esteemed guests from both public and private sectors were invited to discuss the agenda. Approximately, 200 participants were made aware about the project and importance of adopting anti-corrupt activities which shall improve businesses in India. The main take-away from the session was that sooner companies begin to discuss and enact processes for managing integrity standards within organisations; the better it will be for them. A balanced regulatory framework has to be made for both public and private sectors, for better outcome for the society. The Sustainability Summit is a platform to reach out to large group of people. The session on ethical business practices witnessed enthusiastic participation from organizations. It was more effective because instead of focused group, it was participated by diverse group and therefore the reach out of the project was at a higher level.
ii) In the 12th Sustainability Summit 2017, a session on ‘Business Ethics Management: Prevention & Detection” was organised under the project and a panel of esteemed guests from both public and private sectors were invited to discuss the agenda. Main takeaway was finding a collaborative means as a way for organisations to embrace inclusive solutions. With India getting integrated with the global economy, the investor community, both domestic and international, is demanding greater disclosure and transparency on business decisions and increased shareholder value from corporates in India. For this, various changes have been brought to legislations and regulations to foster goals of good corporate governance. The SDGs can only be achieved if all stakeholders recognise the need to fight corruption and embrace the principles of transparency, accountability and good governance. This session engaged various stakeholders to present the collaborative efforts on adopting responsible practices which promote corrupt-free businesses in the country.
iii) CII-ITC CESD organised a dedicated session on Business Ethics during its flagship event, the 13th Sustainability Summit on 6 September 2018. The panellists from various organisations such as International Anti-Corruption Academy (IACA), Nokia, The Coca-Cola Company, Mahindra & Mahindra participated to share best practices in their respective organisations and shared how execution of compliance in their respective organisations has helped adhere to ethical business practices. The discussions presented the challenges for bringing small and medium-sized industries under compliances, lack of responsible business practices in the supply chain, as well restricted growth in private companies due to corruption.