24.04.2009

Underlying codes of ethics were offered to number of business sectors at the business ethics conference

Possible ways to enhance the fight against corruption with codes of business ethics were discussed at the 2nd Baltic-Nordic conference on business ethics "Promoting Business Ethics: Baltic Challenges, Nordic Experience" organized by TI Estonia on the 24th of April. TI Estonia presented its own version of sectoral codes of ethics for Estonian pharmacy, construction and real estate sectors in order to fix good business practices for different branches of economy. Being follow-up to the 1st Baltic-Nordic conference held last year, the thematic issue was more focused this year and speakers gave number of good examples from Baltic and Nordic countries on implementation of codes of ethics rather than pointed out problems and shortcomings. Juhan Parts, Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications said that no rapid progress should be expected in the fight against corruption and the results will emerge after constant work. Minister pointed out distorted competition due to the small size of the market and lack of trust between business owners and employees as a major corruption risks in Estonian business sector. Despite all that he was positively minded as businesses being set up in 2009 are not in his opinion primarily aimed at profiting quickly from public sector. However he pointed out the situation with party financing as a “burning problem” in the sense of transparency and corruption. Representatives of anti-corruption movement and experts on business ethics from Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Sweden, Norway and Germany were present at the conference. Considering the small number of participants from Estonian entrepreneurs, lack of interest might be alarming fact. TI Estonia believes that it might refer to the marginalization of good business practices in economic recession. Therefore it is mandatory to continue consistent development of codes of ethics in cooperation with businesses. Conference was arranged with the support of Nordic Council of Minister`s Office in Estonia in the framework of the project “Against corruption with business ethics”. The conference forms a part of seminars "Fair business environment", carried out by the Ministry of Justice together with the Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and TI Estonia.