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Banknote Ethics Initiative (BnEI): Code of Ethical Business Practice

Corporate Social Responsibility pursues a wide range of different objectives. A core aspect for companies operating internationally with governments or government-related organisations as customers is the battle against bribery and corruption. Systemic risks have to be borne in mind here especially in banknote printing. These include: a small number of suppliers, international customers, direct or indirect access to government representatives and a valuable, high-quality product.

The Banknote Ethics Initiative (BnEI) is committed to this important theme. The BnEI was established in Brussels in 2013 as a non-profit-organisation with the objective to combat bribery and corruption together with representatives of the industry. For this purpose the BnEI has defined binding rules and requirements which can be verified by independent audit organisations – above all the BnEI Code of Ethical Business Practices. Accredited members of the BnEI are subject to regular independent audits. These audits review the functional features and effectiveness of in-house processes to prevent bribery and corruption. 40 central banks are currently among the supporters of the initiative, which to date has 13 members –and growing.

Orell Füssli Security Printing (OFS) joined the BnEI as a member in 2017. After the completion of eleven interviews, the study of almost 100 documents, reviews of all relevant directives and a detailed reconciliation with BnEI requirements, OFS was awarded the sought-after accreditation. Orell Füssli’s long-standing tradition of purposeful and sustainable corporate management is reflected in the fact that a large proportion of the required monitoring processes and basic conditions had already been implemented. The resulting transparency in business processes significantly facilitated the external verification that is now required.

The BnEI is being continuously further developed by its members. The market is also developing, however: the number of international contracts awarded via competitive tender and thus subject to audit and transparency predominates in comparison to direct procurement, which is more difficult to monitor.