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BUSINESS INTEGRITY INITIATIVE

American Chamber of Commerce in BiH initiative in cooperation with The Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE)

USING THE SUPPLY-CHAIN APPROACH TO STRENGTHEN LOCAL COMPLIANCE

WHAT IS THE BUSINESS INTEGRITY INITIATIVE

The American Chamber of Commerce in Bosnia and Herzegovina is proud to announce the launch of the Business Integrity Initiative in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This initiative was created in response to the growing demand for support from companies from the region, that want to expand their business to countries in the region, Europe and the world, and where such expansion often requires the ability to comply with the requirements of international partners in terms of laws and other regulations. It is increasingly common for multinational companies to expect local companies to establish a business integrity program before entering into a partnership. Therefore, the existence of an integrity and business compliance program is an advantage for companies seeking international supply chain or finding international partners.

This program also represents a strong argument for those who need it – it is simply sometimes difficult for employees or advocates of compliance to convince the management that such initiatives are necessary if one wants to expand the market in which one operates or simply respond effectively to negative externalities (such as the COVID-19 pandemic). Understanding partner requirements and adopting compliance leads to improved service provided or good, and a good reputation increases the value of the company which can ultimately attract business partners and investors. Many business leaders have also started to realize the benefits of having strong ethical culture and trust within their companies to prevent fraud and more effectively respond to external shocks, such as caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

HOW CAN THE BUSINESS INTEGRITY INITIATIVE SUPPORT COMPANIES IN BIH

The increased competitiveness is closely linked with companies’ ability to comply with international partners’ requirements in terms of anti-corruption and other laws and regulations. The Business Integrity Initiative will offer to business leaders in BiH the follwong support:

  • AmCham BiH will serve as a repository for compliance-related information, including compliance training materials, templates and examples of policies and procedures, case studies of successful implementation of ethical norms within companies, etc. Any company, including those that are not AmCham BiH members, will be able to request such information and take part in training.
  • AmCham BiH will assist interested companies to establish a Business Integrity Network to promote the values of business integrity within BiH and broadcast their ethical commitments to investors and international partners.

HOW WILL THE INITIATIVE MANAGE RISKS

Company managers face the challenge of business integrity as a risk management tool that enables companies to timely detect, recognize and act on illegal activities of employees, partners or other stakeholders. Not only can the absence of a strong code of ethics internally disrupt the operational, business or financial processes of the company, but also external stakeholders recognize such patterns of business, so they can mark the company as unfavorable. Moreover, lending is an important part of business growth, and a demonstrated commitment to business integrity and compliance makes the company less risky and desirable to lenders (commercial banks, microfinance foundations), as they are also obligated to mitigate their own regulatory and integrity risks.

AmCHam BiH’s survey of 42 companies in June 2022 showed that addressing corruption challenges and discussing corruption risks collectively as a group is overwhelmingly preferred to any such individual efforts. Therefore the intiative will create a safe space for such discussion as part of tehe Business Integrity Network activities. 

HOW TO GET ENGAGED WITH THE INITIATIVE

AmCham BiH invites all companies (regardless of membership in the Chamber) to join this initiative and to become, together with other companies, a strong, visible and active support for other participants who want to expand their business. Having a program and initiative like this can be crucial for companies that want the expertise and assurance of partner-imposed compliance and are not sure where to start. Any company that is interested to participate in the initiative, should respond to AmCham BiH’s communication or contact the Chamber directly in order to indicate their priorities and topics to be discussed. Entry for participation will be possible in the period from May to September 2022.

EXPECTED RESULTS

AmCham BiH will provide a pool of companies with previous experience in compliance implementation as a group that all future interested parties can rely on when it comes to sharing information, experiences or leading teams. Leading companies will provide strong support in ensuring and understanding the adoption steps of any integrity program.

Another goal of this project is to develop a culture of integrity and build similar values. Many participants in the private sector understand that ethical companies can respond and act more efficiently and quickly in crisis situations, because they have loyal employees, but also clear guidelines on ethical behavior.