The ELNET Business Group pursues the transformation of Kenya’s business culture from rampant corruption to ethical business. We believe this will be realized one leader and one business/organization at a time. We have already began this journey with encouraging results.
We have created a tool from the 30 ethical statements which we use to evaluate businesses that invite us to assess their ethical values, practices, and leadership. This includes their internal processes, and their interactions with their customers and other industry players-including competitors. We started this process in 2012 with Inaugural Awards on June 7, 2013 when three Kenyan businesses and four business leaders passed the high ELNET Ethical Assessment pass mark (perception index) of 80% and were feted. The goals of the Awards event are to:
- Multiply leaders of integrity who influence other leaders and the society as a whole.
- Educate, mentor, empower and create wealth through ethical business in Kenya. We seek to especially change the rampant view among the youth that it is not possible to create wealth in an ethical manner i.e. all rich Kenyans have stolen. This view works against hard work in school/universities, wealth and job creation, social peace and acceptance of business people (or ethnic groups), and contributes to social-class or ethnic strife as witnessed in the tensions around the 2007 and 2013 national elections.
THE PURPOSE, SCOPE AND ETHOS OF THE ASSESSMENT
- The purpose is to transform business culture by entrenching ethical practices in Kenya
- Further, the purpose is restorative not punitive. We only announce the leaders and businesses that attain the ethical mark. The others are incubated confidentially until they attain the mark.
- The assessors support the leaders and their businesses in their action/follow-up plans for a year beyond the assessment so that they can maintain/improve their ethical standards and use them as competitive advantage in business-creating value for ethics.
- This rigorous ethical assessment covers all aspects of the business including staff, board, competitors, suppliers, etc. For the leaders, the scope includes leader’s family, friends/associates, key accounts, organizational leaders, staff, etc. as we believe the leaders create the ethical environment at the workplace through their values and practices.
- ELNET commits to complete confidentiality of all results and integrity/fairness of assessment process, and use of competent assessors. ELNET signs non-disclosure agreements with the businesses as a sing of its commitment to confidentiality.
THE CELEBRATION AND USE OF THE RESULTS OF THE ASSESSMENT
- ELNET awards the ‘ELNET Mark of Ethics’ when the leader and/or the business attain an average score of 80% (factoring all categories).
- ELNET, being a not-for-profit network, invites other partners and stakeholders to participate in the award events so that more Kenyans will be impacted by the courageous and noteworthy attainment of the ELNET Mark of Ethics. We salute a number of leading businesses including Coca-Cola who have already partnered with ELNET in this very noble vision as the main sponsors for the last two years, as well as the KCB (Kenya Commercial Bank) Group for their Silver Sponsorship this year.
- ELNET invites the media as a primary opinion shaper to join us in turning the tide on the prevalent opinion (especially among the youth) that it is not possible to create wealth ethically in Kenya. This view could lead to failed counties and national social strife.
NEXT STEPS AND FUTURE OF THE ELNET ETHICAL BUSINESS PROGRAM
The Awards dinner is not the end of the process but only a milestone in a process. Our plan is:
- Invite all media to interview the ethical business leaders so as to create the national narrative on ethical business as a viable and rewarding alternative to corruption.
- All the awarded businesses and leaders will be hosted on ELNET’s website elnet.kenya which we will publicize widely. Any ethical infractions on their part may be reported confidentially on firstname.lastname@example.org – to maintain the standards. The reports will be investigated by the ethical assessors and action taken. You will have a chance to engage the awardees further at the Aug 15, 2014 Business Leaders Forum at Nairobi Club (6.30-8.30am only).
- We invite more businesses to undergo assessment so as to widen the network of ethical businesses. Our vision is that ethical businesses to eventually win over corruption.
- ELNET seeks to partner with business umbrella groups e.g. KEPSA, KAM, KIM (COYA), Chamber of Commerce, BCNI, Top 100 (KPMG), etc., to increase our reach.
- Engage the Church and religious community (as custodians of values) as well as educational institutions to subscribe to, support, and exemplify ethical business – especially among youth so that will know it is possible to be ethical business leaders.
We look forward to partnering with you in this noble vision of a transformed Kenyan business culture and nation.
Tim M. Kiruhi, Ph.D.
ELNET Coordinator & leader of ELNET Ethical Assessment Team