AmCham members were invited to a half-day conference exploring the impact of the new Whistleblowers Law on organizations in Latvia, with a particular focus on the private sector. The event took place on March 28 at the Riga Business School.
The Whistleblowers Law, which takes effect on May 1, 2019, will require companies employing over 50 people to introduce certain whistleblowing mechanisms. Are companies ready for the implications of the law, how will they ensure compliance and is there a risk of non-compliance? In addition, the experience of a whistleblower and best practices of establishing proper internal whistleblowing mechanisms were presented.
The first panel of the conference was moderated by journalist Paul Raudseps with experts Inese Kuske of the State Chancellery and Maris Vainovskis, Partner at Eversheds Sutherland Bitans on benefits to the business environment and society of the newly adopted Law on Whistleblowing. At the same time both experts identified the conditions for effective law enforcement.
The second panel of experts at the conference was moderated by Jānis Veide, representative of Transparency International Latvian chapter Delna during which international and local experts shared best practices of how organizations have succeeded (or in some cases failed) to establish an effective internal whistleblowing system.
Evita Goša, CEMEX Board Member introduced the Code of Ethics and Business Behaviour to CEMEX, stressing, among other things, that the universality of the Code of Ethics is essential for its full implementation, and that it applies to all members of the company without exception. Francis Harman, Chairman of the Board of InC Blue Group, shared his thorough experience from different countries, revealing how internal codes of conduct and alerting processes have helped companies improve their performance. Debora Pavila, Partner of VILGERTS informed participants on how the Law on Whistleblowing can help prevent business risks.
Also, at the conference on what it means to be a whistleblower within the organization, Eugene Lyons, a representative of the Irish Trade Union for Public Services shared his personal story.
The conference was co-hosted by Transparency International Latvia, American, British, Irish-Latvian, Norwegian and Swedish Chambers of Commerce in Latvia in cooperation with Vilgerts Law office. It was supported by the U.S. Embassy in Latvia, airBaltic, Bite Latvija and Riga Business School.
The full video of the conference is available below:
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Liene Dubava, Chair of the Management Board of Nasdaq Riga Stock Exchange