November 7 2014, in the scale of the Collective action project in SHTP, a Business Integrity platform, operated as a function of Saigon Hi-tech Park (SHTP) website, was introduced to business representatives in the park, most of whom were HR, Compliance and Internal Auditors.
The Business Integrity (BI) platform (to be officially launched by mid-December), developed by Towards Transparency (TT) and Saigon Hi-tech Park (SHTP), is an open space for companies to demonstrate to stakeholders their efforts and commitment to doing clean business. Besides, the platform also provides business with a wide range of anti-corruption (AC) tools.
About 30 participants had chances to share their opinions on corruption and how it affects business. The recent bribery case of Bio-rad Laboratories Inc. was mentioned as an example of cost of corruption, damaging business in both financial and non-financial areas.
With respect to the concern, online tools of the platform such as Quick SET (Self- evaluation tool) and 6-star-ranking system attracted audience’s interests.
- Quick SET will provide its user with tools to assess one company’s integrity systems, the user can choose to be anonymous. The evaluations’ results will encourage the company to review its current policies and procedures related to corruption risks. The results could be used as reference both internally and externally.
- The 6-star-ranking system (of which 6 star meaning an excellent integrity system) will make current state of the company’s integrity system openly accessed and viewed. The company will only be able to turn on the next star after they have submitted appropriate supporting documents, in reference to Transparency International’s standards.
A standard integrity system will help companies avoid corruption risks, according to Mr. Pham Anh Duong, Business Integrity Manager of Towards Transparency. When being questioned by one participant about legitimacy of the submitted documents, Mr. Duong indicated that in order to achieve the sixth star (the highest level of the ranking system), companies needed to have independent audit on all the supporting documents.
Furthermore, he also emphasized that the platform was meant to be operated with integrity. Therefore, member companies are expected to be fully accountable for the information they provide as it is always possible that they will be challenged and judged by their own stakeholders.