Aims & objectives
”Growing on Ethics” is addressed to all business leaders and employees, regardless their economic/business sector.
Its main objectives are to equip leaders and employees with the appropriate skills that will allow them to act in a more ethical approach in everyday business and personal activities. This could be achieved through the transfer of an existing methodology that has been developed in Portugal by one of the partners (ACEGE) and will be updated and adjusted according to the different national needs of the consortium countries.
The three core topics of the methodology focus on leadership, just on time payment and work-life balance.
This approach will lead to the development of a joint guideline for the use of a common methodology that will contain specific and useful information, on how it is possible to mainstream vertical models incorporating Ethics and CSR into national policies and training references in each country, with recognition for EQF and ECVET.
Also, the project aims at establishing and reinforcing in each country a network of Ethics and CSR with a strong focus on economic, environmental and social aspects (human resource management, community support, training, etc.), including not only companies but also VET Providers, NGO´s, public authorities and other stakeholders.
Thus all these could be achieved through:
• development of a toolkit that provides suggestions for leaders and employees to improve their Ethics behavior and their CSR management model,
• creation of an operational ECVET framework for Ethics and CSR management approach,
• creation of an Ethics and CSR network in European level.
Relevance towards European Commission’s general objectives
The recent economic crisis as well as other structural factors are all contributing to rapid changes in European labour markets and economy.
The EU, now more than ever before, is trying to move towards a more sustainable and inclusive society until 2020, based on new management models that include ethics, responsibility and transparency.
In October 2011, the European Commission published a new policy on Corporate Social Responsibility defining CSR as “the responsibility of enterprises for their impacts on society”. To fully meet their social responsibility, enterprises “should have in place a process to integrate social, environmental, ethical, human rights and consumer concerns into their business operations and core strategy in close collaboration with their stakeholders”. (EU Strategy 2020, "A renewed EU strategy 2011-14 for Corporate Social Responsibility").
For better aligning European and global approaches to CSR and Ethics, the Commission highlights the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, the 10 principles of the UN Global Compact, the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the ILO Tri-partite Declaration of Principles on Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy, the ISO 26000 Guidance on Social Responsibility and the Global Reporting Initiative.
In this context it is crucial for society and markets that ethical behavior evolves in terms of content, and becomes a standard practice by all, instead of an exceptional activity undertaken by some leading companies.
Moreover, corporate ethical behaviour that is based on corporate values is one of the major fundamental principles of the sustainable management model that also embeds:
Accountability: being accountable for our impacts on society, the economy and the environment,
Transparency: disclosing information to Stakeholders with respect to decisions and activities that impact society and the environment, to a reasonable and sufficient degree,
Respect for Stakeholder Interests: respecting, considering and responding stakeholders’ interests to the best of company’s ability,
Respect for the rule of the law: complying with applicable provisions,
Respect for international norms of behaviour: adopting international norms of behaviour as a minimum, even in situations where the national law does not provide adequate environmental or social safeguards,
Respect for human rights: respecting human rights and recognizing both their importance and their universality.
All the above principles contain ethical issues that constitute an organization’s responsibility strategy and can enhance reputation and brand image and securing “social license to operate”.
Relevance towards Lifelong Learning Programme “Leonardo da Vinci” priorities
“Growing on Ethics” is designed in line with the Leonardo Da Vinci general objectives which are the support of participants in training and future training activities, in the acquisition and the use of knowledge, skills and qualifications to facilitate personal development, employability and participation in the European labour market, and to enhance the attractiveness of vocational education and training and mobility for employers and individuals and to facilitate the mobility of trained workers.
More specifically “Growing on Ethics” aims to contribute to the improvement of the quality and to increase the volume of co-operation between institutions/organisations providing learning opportunities, enterprises, social partners and other relevant bodies throughout Europe, but also to facilitate the development of innovative practices in the field of vocational education and training and their transfer from one participating country to others.
Throughout the project, partners underline also their contribution in promoting:
awareness of the importance of cultural and linguistic diversity within Europe, as well as of the need to combat racism, prejudice and xenophobia,
equality between men and women and contributing to combating all forms of discrimination based on sex racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation.
Necessity of “Growing on Ethics” for organisations nowadays
It is a fact that an ever-increasing number of companies and other organizations want to make their operations sustainable. Moreover, expectations that long-term profitability should go hand-in-hand with ethical behaviour are gaining ground.
These expectations are only set to increase and intensify the need to move to a truly sustainable economy and that is understood by companies’ and organizations’ financiers, customers and other stakeholders. To ensure this, it is urgent to invest in the right and appropriate skills and improve matching between jobs offered and skills needed.
In this context, a new more ethical behaviour both in business and in personal daily life, are perceived as a more holistic and emergent management need for all kind of organizations, in order to promote sustainability and social cohesion at European level, but also to ensure that everyone is aware and highly skilled in these crucial attitudes.
Motivating business organizations and other stakeholders, to use principles and actions based on ethics, transparency, creation of synergies, leadership, employee motivation, mutual respect and tolerance, conciliation of family life, etc., in their everyday business activities, is fundamental for a better business and social environment.
Concerning the adoption of Ethics and CSR by businesses and their organisations that respect them at European Level, there is still a long way to go since only 24% of big companies, 6% of SMES, 4% of Public authorities and 18% of NGOs are using and implementing Ethics and CSR in their everyday work (United Nations recent study).
Additionally, the Communication from the EC - Rethinking Education (20/11/2012) is very clear about the urgent necessity to invest and promote excellency in VET, through effective connections between VET Systems and the EU Strategy, by “bridging the gap among EU country’s as regards the performance, quality and impact of VET, and its outcomes in terms of more and better skills”.
There is still a big gap between organisational practices and "social and civic competences", and "green skills" which are key competencies for Lifelong learning. According to data from Eurostat and CEDEFOP, only 7% of individuals apply these competences in their professional lives, coupled with the enhancement of performance.
About the main implementation phases of the of GROWING ON ETHICS
CSR and Ethics are an innovative solution to support sustainable development and highly competitive social market economy. It is desirable that all organizations implement a more Ethical and CSR approach that although it is not a mandatory standard, all countries are socially obliged to improve.
The project will be implemented in three major phases:
The 1st phase contains the transfer and adaptation of the existing user-friendly and effective methodology about Ethics and CSR, (AconteSer), which integrates training among partners upon the tool-kit “Leading with Responsibility”
that contains concepts, tips, and exercises, ready to be used by all managers and employees, provides suggestions for improvements and steps to follow concerning a better more ethical and CSR oriented management model. Moreover, the
basic material will be adopted by the partners with adaptations that meet national needs based on the findings derived from a survey and a desk research executed in the participating countries.
The 2nd phase contains the creation of an operational ECVET framework for Ethics and CSR focused on special remarks, information and key factors for each country, using the EQF system to define learning outcomes (in terms of knowledge,
skills and competencies) and apply ECVET based on learning outcomes, units and allocate ECVET points.
The 3rd phase contains the creation of a European Ethics and CSR network with a very straight link with chambers of commerce, VET centers, professional associations, public bodies and research organizations to enhance the value of Ethics
and CSR and to speed up the achievement of 2020 national and European goals. Last but not least, it is imperative to address not only SMEs, but also bigger companies, Public Authorities and third sector organisations such as NGOs and Foundations,
because no one can stay aside of all these “mandatory changes”.