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Chamber chief operating officer backs 'doing business with integrity'

11 February 2019

Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce’s (GBCC) chief operating officer, Russell Jeans, is urging firms to ‘do business with integrity’.

Mr Jeans’ comments come as a result of the Government launch of a new Business Integrity Hub, being supported by the GBCC.

The hub helps importers, exporters and foreign investors operating or preparing to do business in emerging markets, also known as frontier markets.

The Business Integrity Hub’s services include helping firms be aware, prepare and reduce the risk of bribery and corruption when doing business in emerging markets.

Mr Jeans said that although there are massive opportunities in frontier markets, businesses should put integrity at the heart of their business approach.

He said: “I see a growing number of ambitious companies capitalising on opportunities in high potential frontier markets across Africa, Asia and Latin America. 

“In the post-Brexit world, these markets will become increasingly important and attractive environments in which to do business but for the unprepared they can also be a source of business risk, particularly in relation to bribery and corruption.

“This means having business integrity policies and practices in place that ensure compliance with the UK Bribery Act and insisting that local partners, agents and distributors adhere to the same high standards.

“Adopting codes of conduct and ethical policies is a good start but they must be backed by training and continuous reinforcement, led from the top.

“I recognise this isn’t easy particularly for small companies, which lack the necessary resources and know-how, which is why I welcome the UK Government’s new Business Integrity Hub, which is offering a range of integrity guidance and support to small and medium sized businesses operating in frontier markets.  

“Through the Hub, companies can apply for match funded support from a consultant to help with integrity considerations, for example: improving their compliance with the UK Bribery Act, accessing detailed information on corruption risks in specific countries or sectors and how to do due diligence on supply chain partners.

“It is becoming increasingly clear that having robust integrity policies in place is rapidly becoming the norm if you want to be able to access commercial opportunities in large company supply chains or international banking services. 

“Having a reputation for integrity is also essential for building the trust that underpins successful long-term commercial relationships. This trend is only going to accelerate as companies seek out commercial partners who share and demonstrate the same values and commitment to integrity.

“Doing business with integrity generates direct business benefits from reputational gains and more competitive bids, to greater access to multi-national supply chains and longer-term business sustainability.”

To find out more about the Business Integrity Hub, please visit https://www.great.gov.uk/advice/manage-legal-and-ethical-compliance/helping-companies-do-business-with-integrity/

For businesses interested in opportunities in frontier and Commonwealth markets, the Greater Birmingham Commonwealth Chamber of Commerce can support businesses.

To find out more or to become a member, visit https://www.greaterbirminghamchambers.com/our-group/commonwealth/

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