Business Ombudsman Council launches the Ukrainian Network of Integrity and Compliance (UNIC)

Together with the OECD and EBRD, the BOC showcases a new initiative for businesses that want to work transparently.
The Business Ombudsman Council, with the support of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) presented the Ukrainian Network of Integrity and Compliance (UNIC), a new initiative for businesses that want to work transparently.
The purpose of this network is to promote the idea of doing business ethically and responsibly. Companies who join the network will commit themselves to support a good business reputation and improve the standards of integrity. By instituting responsibility in the foundations of a company’s operations, businesses will be able to counter corruption, lighten regulatory pressures, ease access to credits, and foster their entry onto international markets.
Network members will work together to assess corruption risks as part of instituting compliance programs in their companies, to draw the business community into discussions of the principles of integrity, and to raise interest in doing business transparently among market players. Members will also audit their own levels of compliance on a regular basis.
The UNIC is expected to develop in a number of phases. In May the first round of companies who were prepared to sign a pledge of integrity in doing business formed the start-up membership. Each of the applicants was recommended by the BOC, the EBRD, the OECD, embassies, international organizations and business associations in Ukraine. At this time, 46 Ukrainian and international companies have signed the pledge of integrity. These companies will jointly determine the basis and rules for the network’s activities.
“Corruption remains a serious obstacle to economic growth in Ukraine. Transparency International ranks Ukraine 131st out of 176 in the Corruption Perception Index. This network should help bring together leaders in the business community who understand how important transparency is in doing business and who are prepared to offer a role model to other companies. We plan to support the network actively,” says Algirdas Semeta, Business Ombudsman of Ukraine and the initiator of the network concept.
“Mentality change is an important element in enhancing corporate governance in Ukraine and it is evident the Ukrainian society demands this. Lawmakers, the government and other drivers of corporate governance reforms should highlight the importance of accountability, transparency, corporate social responsibility and work together on finding the most efficient tools to introduce them,” highlights Olyana Gordiyenko, Associate Director, Governance, EBRD. 
“The future belongs to creative and brave, not to connected and greedy. By joining the UNIC, the Ukrainian companies are making strategic choice and invest into the future growth based on fair competition and integrity,” comments Olga Savran, ACN manager, OECD. 
Applications to join the network are now being accepted. Any company, regardless of its size or sphere of activities may join. The key to becoming a member is to favor a high standard of integrity and compliance in doing business. Membership is free.
For any questions about joining the UNIC, contact BOC Investigator Tetiana Kheruvimova via e-mail at tetiana.kheruvimova@boi.org.ua or by phone at +38044 237-7401.
You can get familiarized with Anti-corruption guide, courtesy of Embassy of Belguim in Ukraine to organizers and participants of event. 
Some of the speaker’s presentations are available following the links:
Mr. Algirdas Šemeta, Business Ombudsman of Ukraine: UNIC: Timeline
Mrs. Ieva Lapeikienė, Project Coordinator at Clear Wave Initiative, Lithuania: Clear Wave – Lithuanian business action on integrity
Mr. Jean-Pierre Mean, Chair of the audit sub-committee of the ISO 37001 Working Group, Switzerland: Anti-Bribery Management Systems Standard (ISO 37001)
Mr. Tayfun Zaman, Managing Partner at Integrity Partners Consultancy and Founder of Center for Private Sector Collective Action, Turkey: Collective action of customs brokers in Turkey
Mr. Cuneyt Yetgin, Compliance Officer at Guler Dinamik Customs Consultancy Inc., Turkey: Business integrity: Customs brokerage/consultancy perspective
Ms. Yulia Odarchenko, Country Compliance Officer, DP Siemens Ukraine: Implementation of Compliance Systems at Siemens: Practical aspects of business integrity

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