by Ewelina Łukasik-Morawska, Engagement Manager at GES
Responsible business practices have been attracting growing attention in the international arena, gradually becoming an indicator of a comprehensive strategy for a company’s development. In the last few years, Poland has been adapting to this international trend. The development of good business practices in the country has been facilitated mostly by an increasing participation of multinational corporations in the Polish market and by local initiatives. GES supports the local efforts and so in 2016 we decided to join the Ethics Officers Coalition launched by the UN Global Compact Poland.
The main goal of the Ethics Officers Coalition is to promote and implement principles of business ethics in Polish companies and institutions. The Coalition was established at the Global Compact Conference in 2014 and now it comprises of more than 70 businesses entities and organisations, including the National Bank of Poland, the National Fund for Environmental Protection and the Social Insurance Institution. At the core of the initiative is a long-term programme and its first phase is due to be complete in 2020. In 2016, in close cooperation with the Polish Ombudsman, experts, representatives of public administration and business partners, the coalition defined the main challenges and discussed possible strategies to create a uniform ethical standard and how to implement in Polish enterprises.
Activities under the Ethics Officers’ programme are an example of cooperation between many companies across different sectors, which over the long term has an ambition to address following goals: gender equality, decent work as well as economic growth. In order to address the above mentioned goals in a systematic manner, in 2016 the Coalition started working on a Management Standard for Ethical Programmes which could be implemented in Polish companies and institutions. In order to further enhance knowledge exchange, a dedicated platform was launched and the Coalition members agreed to create the Association of Ethics Officers, the purpose of which is to conduct educational activities for Ethics Officers as a professional group. It was also agreed that the Coalition will issue an annual report summarising the work undertaken and specifying further actions and recommendations for the upcoming year.
The Coalition intends to introduce the final version of the Management Standard for Ethical Programmes on 10 December 2016 in Poland and, over the long term, make it applicable for use internationally. Throughout this process, the Coalition’s working group is compiling practical solutions and experiences. As the Standard is planned to be implemented in a number of Polish industries, the Coalition is planning to engage with different industries to analyse the challenges that might arise within specific sectors.
The Coalition was initiated by a handful of companies, but today the programme brings together representatives of virtually all economic sectors as well as relevant public institutions. The Coalition serves as an effective platform for both companies seeking to better manage business ethics and those more experienced in doing so. GES is happy to be an active member and provider of expertise and experience in the field.