This is the main conclusion reached by the participants in the round table discussion on „Ethical dimensions of the professional services market” held by the Bulgarian Association of Management Consulting Organisations (BAMCO) which was attended by Mr George Ruitchev, Executive Director of the Bulgarian Business Leaders Forum (BBBLF).
The discussion was opened by Ms Gergana Mantarkova, BAMCO Chairperson, who emphasised the influence of many factors altering the market environment in the last years and entailing a new kind of relations among the participants. This inevitably prompts us to re-assess our ethical values and priorities. She identified one more reason to think in this vein as she referred to the Edelman Trust Barometer presented at the Davos World Economic Forum in February this year. According to the Barometer, on a global scale, trust in non-governmental organisations (64%) and businesses (58%) remains relatively stable while trust in government institutions (44%) is falling. Hence, the initiative for changes in the environment can and should come from professional organisations and businesses.
Mr George Ruitchev presented the Bulgarian Business Leaders Forum as an organisation which is responsive to the issues of ethics and corporate social responsibility. BBLF has worked for 15 years to promote the Business Ethics Standard it has developed. To date, it has been adopted by more than 1,000 companies. According to Mr Ruitchev, Bulgarian businesses already recongise ethics as the foundation to build sustainable business structures and, although ethical practices are slow to find their way, public interest in the topic has awakened. He spoke about how business ethics acted as prevention of corruption behaviour and mismanagement which are discussed in the media every day.
A number of specific proposals in the area of legislation, education, European Union funds absorption and others were made during the discussion. The participants in the event agreed that professional organisations and businesses can have a leading role in promoting ethical behaviour in the market.