Key points of Tetyana Korotka at OECD high-level discussion on strengthening business integrity

The Business Ombudsman Council is a permanent panelist in the OECD high-level discussion on finding solutions to strengthen business integrity. Tetiana Korotka, the Deputy Business Ombudsman, presented the Council at the regular hybrid format meeting at OECD, dedicated to the development of the network and discussing Eastern Europe and Central Asia region gaps and needs with colleagues.

Tetyana Korotka’s thesis to moderators’ questions:

Has that changed since those times – has your role evolved since 2014 – is there more trust in the state-run channels or you still fill that gap?

According to my observations, since the Business Ombudsman Council establishment (I would like to remind you that our institution was created in 2015 after the Revolution of Dignity), state institutions began working much better. For example, BOC receives almost no complaints about the permit system, licensing, obtaining construction documentation, and public procurement. Most public services and state registers are digitized, which also contributes to transparency and business operation.

However, new challenges for the country, such as COVID pandemic, the full-scale military invasion of Russia, the accelerated European integration of Ukraine, pose new issues and tasks in the context of business culture formation as well.

As the Business Ombudsman Council, we would like to focus on enforcement issues in the nearest future. We are sure that it is these issues between the legal norms and their practical application that create an environment for both violations of business rights by government bodies and business malpractice.

What are those challenges in the context of doing business honestly these days?

As for challenges to business honesty, this work to promote business culture must be consistently continued. Especially, in the context of the “conflict of interests” concept. Despite, as it would seem, knowledge of this terminology in society. However, not to lose the ethical compass, it is useful to raise business and other stakeholders’ awareness.

The next regional challenge for business integrity area is integration into the EU. As you know, Ukraine, Moldova, and the Balkan countries are in an active negotiation process regarding EU membership, other countries in the region are also moving in their own way, which requires significant changes in approaches to strategic planning in business as well as formation of an appropriate compliance system. The catalyst for all processes was Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine and risks for other countries in the region.

More broadly, from your experience, what do you think is still missing in the area of business integrity in Ukraine, and in our region?

Of crucial importance, from compliance and business integrity viewpoint, not only for Ukraine, but also for other countries, is the issue of sanctions applied to companies and sanctions policy on the whole. Helping businesses to put an end to cooperation with toxic russian partners and to finish cooperation with sanctioned shareholders is particularly relevant in Ukraine today.

A global project for future restoration of Ukraine can also become a driver for business integrity culture formation. Along with large multinational companies, local businesses (and not only Ukrainian ones) will be able to participate in restoration projects. However, realizing that recovery will be closely intertwined with international support, only companies knowing and following the best rules of compliance procedures will be able to join it.

Another global trend is intensification of the security and defense sector development as well as production, movement, trade, installation, use and all related processes. New living conditions of countries,  global and national security issues open up new horizons for business and require new internal and external ethical rules and compliance establishment.

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