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03.08.2009 Business & Finance

Kasapa Signs Onto Business Code

By Daily Graphic
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The Manager of the Ghana Business Code (GHBC), Mr Johnson Oduro, has called on telecommunications companies in the country to sign on to the code to validate their commitment to ethical business practices.

He said the growing telecom industry had brought along deepening concerns about their service quality and radiations from their masts which are considered harmful to humans and that acceding to the code would help endorse their commitment to responsible business practices or compel them to take steps to achieve that feat.

Speaking at a signing ceremony to enable Kasapa, a local telecom company, to become a member of the code, Mr Oduro said various stakeholders in the industry, including customers had been demanding higher sense of responsibility from the telecoms providers, which he said, called for greater attention to the way they conducted their businesses.

Kasapa said it signed on because it realised that the company’s ethical and social responsibility principles were consistent with the code and so we have the Ghana Business Code now to help us keep us on the straight and narrow path,” the Managing Director, Mr Robert Palitz, stated.

For a telecom company like Kasapa, signing onto the GHBC would require it to immediately educate and convince the public that indeed, its masts do not emit radiation harmful to human health, as concerns have recently been rife about the hazardous effects of such cellularphone masts.

The Ghana Business Code was introduced into the country by the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), the Ghana Employers Association (GEA) and the Ghana Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GNCCI), along the principles of United Nations Global Compact and funded by the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA).

The GHBC comprises a series of prescriptions based on UN Global Compact relating to human rights, labour standards, the environment and transparency in business operations.

The code emphasises the triple bottom line of corporate responsibility with regard to people, profit and planet.

Mr Oduro reminded companies that Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) had moved beyond donations and community investment initiatives to cover the organisation’s responsibility for human rights, good labour practices, anti corruption practices and care for the environment.

He made it clear that signing on to the code was only a first step and needed to move on to a higher step of implementation in the organisation, saying “much as it is important to sign on, it is more useful to implement the code in your business to ‘walk the talk’.”

The GHBC has now become the framework for ethical business practice and (CSR).

The GHBC manager further announced that the code had developed an implementation manual to help companies who subscribe to the code to internalise the principles in their organisations and that a secretariat had been offering support services in certain areas to speed up implementation.

“Let me announce that arrangements are far advanced for third party evaluation and certification of GHBC for member companies.

This will be done by internationally recognised auditing and certification organisations to give credibility to membership,” Mr Oduro stated.

So far, 13 companies have agreed to undergo certification, and the manager called on member companies to volunteer to be evaluated, and appealed to non-members to take a bold step and sign on to the code.

He called on all telecommunication companies to emulate the example of Kasapa, which he commended for taking a bold step.

Mr Palitz, said although every person may behave properly, ensuring that a company as a whole acted ethically required an extra effort.

“First, you have to make certain that people in position of leadership, from the board of directors downwards, set examples that are worthy of emulation.

Then you get your staff to understand the need for our cumulative behaviour to adhere to ethical standards,” Mr Palitz stated.

He said Kasapa already shared and adhered to the principles of the code, saying “how we relate with our customers and the public is also key to us, as it differentiates us in the market.”

The managing director added that environmental issues were also a priority for the company, submitting that the company was the first cellular company to purchase radiation measurement equipment to enable it to keep radiation exposures near their towers below the limits set by the Environmental Protection Agency.

By : Samuel Doe Ablordeppey

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