October 22, 2021

New Zealand has joined APEC’s attempts to establish corporate ethics pacts

As New Zealand introduces a consensus framework to increase ethical cooperation in its health system, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) emphasizes the significance of ethical business behavior for small companies in the health sector by extending the implementation of ethics pacts.

According to a statement published by the APEC Small and Medium Enterprises Working Group and received here on October 18, 2021, the “New Zealand Consensus Framework” was agreed last week at the 2021 APEC Business Ethics for Small and Medium Enterprises Forum.

The framework is based on nine comparable agreements for ethical cooperation, which bring together over 300 health organizations representing thousands of businesses and impact hundreds of thousands of healthcare workers as well as millions of patients.

Consensus frameworks allow key parties to collaborate, such as industries, healthcare professionals, patient organizations, and governments, by aligning common ideals.

Vangelis Vitalis, the 2021 APEC Chair of Senior Officials, emphasized the significant connection between corporate ethics and productivity in his opening comments at the conference, and how ethical companies throughout the region can help boost company productivity by 3 to 6 percent each year.

“At a time when we need access to vaccinations and associated medical equipment, this framework enables politicians, the business sector, and others to collaborate in reaching agreement and helping the region’s economic recovery,” he said.

Vitalis is also the deputy secretary of Trade and Economic Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of New Zealand.

Faye Sumner, former chief executive officer of the Medical Technology Association of New Zealand, spoke on behalf of the private sector, stating that the framework establishes a set of ethical standards to guide collaboration among patient organizations, healthcare professionals, and industry players.

“No one organization can create an ethical atmosphere in these areas on its own,” he said.

A study co-funded by APEC and presented at the forum by Ethisphere and Royal Holloway, University of London discovered that small businesses in health-related sectors with established ethics and compliance programs outperformed the rest of the economy during the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

Employee training, written standard knowledge and communication, anti-corruption policy coverage, and risk assessment are all part of ethics and compliance programs.

The study also discovered that consumers and industry peers are the primary motivators for small companies to embrace integrity and corporate ethics.

“As we continue to navigate the challenges of the pandemic and facilitate an inclusive recovery, it is critical that we provide businesses with a transparent and predictable environment where we can no longer afford to disregard the importance of business ethics,” said Norlela Suhailee, chair of the APEC Small and Medium Enterprises Working Group.

“This is particularly important for micro, small, and medium-sized businesses. They are more susceptible to unethical behavior since they are smaller in size and have fewer resources “She said.

The activities this year follow the historic launch of Vision 2025, the initiative’s roadmap approved by APEC SME Ministers in 2020, which includes modernizing APEC principles and providing SME capacity building through the APEC Leaders in Ethics and Integrity Program (LEIP) in the biopharmaceutical sector and the Global Distributor Compliance Toolkit in the medical technology sector.

“As we continue to collaborate to assist our communities to recover from the pandemic and be better prepared for the next one, APEC should be a driving force in achieving consensus frameworks for economies across the world. It is obvious that we are just at the beginning of this movement “Thomas Cueni, Director General of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations, said.

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