Dear Ladies and Gentlemen
On July 4, 2018, the Jacobus Oranje Integrity Medal was presented for the first time at the VU Compliance & Integrity Symposium in collaboration with PwC and Law Firm De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek. This Medal is awarded annually after deliberations by an expert jury.
Jacobus Oranje was rector magnificus of the VU and a key inspiration for VU’s resistance attitude during World War II. He was also active outside the VU: he participated in and initiated inter-academic contacts between professors, teachers and students and coordinated many agitation and resistance actions. Furthermore, he arranged that, after the universities were closed, students could continue to take exams secretly at his home and at colleagues’ homes. He died shortly after the war. There is a memorial plaque for him next to the Auditorium where we meet today.
Again, this year the Jury came to a unanimous decision regarding the award of the medal. The Jury is of the opinion that the Week of Integrity meets the five requirements for this medal in all respects based on the following.
1. The candidate has done groundbreaking/innovative work in the field of integrity management.
The Week of Integrity is a unique annual multi-stakeholder initiative that aims to foster the exchange of knowledge and stimulate the debate on integrity. A wide range of partners from the private and public sector, and educational and civil society institutions put the spotlight on the importance of integrity during the Week of Integrity by organizing their own activities. Throughout the year, knowledge sessions take place.
The purpose of the Week of Integrity is to draw attention to the importance of integrity. In the workplace and in the boardroom, at all types of organizations. What can be expected from employees, from officials and administrators? What is the responsibility of politicians? What do companies have to do, within the Netherlands, but also abroad when doing international business? The Week of Integrity also offers a toolkit. Partners can use communication materials from the toolkit free of charge leading up to, and during, the Week of Integrity.
The Week of Integrity is an initiative of the International Chamber of Commerce Netherlands. ICC has been a pioneer in the fight against corruption, issuing its first version of the ICC Rules of Conduct to combat Extortion and Bribery in 1977. ICC is at the forefront of the development of ethics, anti-corruption and corporate responsibility advocating codes and guidelines, providing a lead voice for the business community in this rapidly changing field. As far as we have determined this initiative is the first in the world and it has been followed up by other countries and prompted innovation in other partners.
2. The candidate is actively involved (inter)nationally in knowledge transfer in the field of integrity.
The Week of Integrity (in 2023, from 1-9 December) is not limited to one week. As a matter of fact, it is a year-round initiative, bringing together partners, promoting innovative thinking and knowledge sharing. In the Netherlands there are currently over 100 partner organizations that meet year-round in inspiring knowledge sharing sessions and round tables. Organizations of all kinds are invited to become a partner to the Week of Integrity, as long as the organization follows the Week’s basic principles, among others:
- The organization realizes the importance of mutual understanding on integrity between the private sector, the public sector and NGOs and is willing to exchange thoughts and experiences on this matter.
- The organization is already actively promoting integrity within their own organization.
- The activities of the partner organized during the Week of Integrity have no commercialintent.
3. The candidate has made a positive, lasting and cross-company (sector) contribution to the organization’s integrity management.
As mentioned, business integrity and fighting corruption is high on the agenda of ICC Netherlands. The Netherlands being a trading nation, makes it important that integrity is not just a topic of continuous dialogue within the Dutch borders, but also in an international context. Since 2016, ICC organizes the Week of Integrity and ICC’s International Integrity and Anti- corruption Conference. This Conference welcomes experts from the public and private sector from around the globe to exchange thoughts and ideas on solutions and innovations regarding integrity. Multi-stakeholder initiatives are key in fighting corruption and promoting integrity. The Week of Integrity fosters public-private cooperation and raises awareness for ethical business throughout the Netherlands. Consequently, the Week of Integrity is dedicated to initiatives that help reach the goal of an honest and sincere society. ICC Netherlands believes that integrity and anti-corruption efforts are vital in contributing to the mission of securing justice and peace worldwide.
4. The candidate has not shied away from making far-reaching choices with the aim of improving the organization’s integrity and integrity management (and in this case we consider ‘the own’ organization as ‘the Dutch society’).
In order to further build and emphasize its mission, in 2020 a foundation has been established for the Week of Integrity. This foundation is responsible for organizing the Week of Integrity. The aim of the Foundation is to promote business integrity in the broadest sense, both in the Netherlands and abroad. The Supervisory Board of the Foundation oversees the policy.
5. The candidate’s contributions to improving integrity and integrity management have served as an example for organizations within the sector and even cross-sector.
After the Netherlands, Albania was the first country to adopt the Week of Integrity initiative followed by Macedonia and Guatemala. By organizing this initiative, the importance of the dialogue on integrity is recognized by the private and public sector, civil society and academia worldwide. ICC Netherlands encourages potential partners worldwide to connect and set up their local Week of Integrity.
To put, in summary, the Week of Integrity initiative nicely into words, I quote Henk Broeders, chairman of the supervisory board of the before mentioned foundation: “The key factor is to ensure that the importance of doing business with integrity is lived through by all employees. It comes down to behavior, more than just checking rules.”
So much for this rationale for our decision.
We are very pleased that Mirjam Bakker, Obbe Siderius and Marijke Wolfs, on behalf of ICC Netherlands, initiator of the Week of Integrity, would like to receive this recognition for the important work and contribution to the integrity of organizations in the Netherlands and internationally. We hope that they see this medal as a recognition and encouragement to continue working on integrity and passing on this important message both nationally and internationally.
Amsterdam, 23 June 2023
Drs. P.H.M. Hofsté RA (chair)
Mr. R.A.M. Houben
Prof. Dr. E.D. Karssing
Prof. Dr. S.P. Kaptein
I.M. Roeleveld-Schmidt MBA EMoC CRMA