A – The roots and principles of business ethics are found in philosophical, religious and sociological thought. Brief reference is merited to both lay reflections on business values and the Catholic perspective by examining the social doctrine of the Church to identify shared basic principles.
B – Studies of business ethics indicate the tangible adoption of codes of ethics by companies generates positive spin-off by legitimising and enhancing corporate standing within the community and also, improves economic performance.
C – The adoption of detailed codes of ethics by enterprises operating in the same economic sector who are members of professional associations, reinforces compliance not only with the legal provisions, but with principles of mutual respect, creating increased yet fair competition and raising professional standards. The conduct of individual enterprises within a particular economic sector or who are members of professional associations can generate positive or negative repercussions - not only for the business itself - but for the sector as a whole.
D – Entrepreneurship is intrinsically ethical in that it generates wealth and development, promotes working in a spirit of cooperation and a sense of personal responsibility in an environment of open, free competition by following procedures which are publicly documented and controlled to avoid deceit and fraud.
E – Sharing these principles, the Association has adopted the following Guidelines for Members, in application of the regulations in its By-laws and the ethical criteria adopted by Confindustria.
GUIDELINES FOR MEMBERS
A commitment to comply properly and at all times with the legislation in management of the business which constitutes a fundamental and minimum prerequisite for fair and ethical conduct.
The commitment must be scrupulously observed, and in particular through compliance with the standards which govern the typical business conducted by member companies to avoid any non-compliance with standards that would discredit the market and in particular, other member companies.
The goal of all corporate activity must be the achievement of excellence. Excellent services for clients; an optimum working environment for staff; optimum results for shareholders and acting as a driving force in the community where the business is located.
Businesses operating in the property sector also incur social responsibility given the need to protect the environment and the local area.
The company manager must act to achieve the optimum corporate equilibrium, the survival and expansion of the business to increase its value and generate a fair profit for shareholders. The manager must also confront the risks associated with expansion of the company.
Companies which adhere to these “ethical principles” also undertake to improve the standards and professional reputation of the property sector, including by following any instructions the Association may issue to contain and/or eliminate practices which, although “technically correct”, could discredit the profession.
The company should be particularly mindful of the dignity of work and its priority over other production factors. This consideration gives rise to specific rights of employees: the right to fair pay, the right to participate in the life of the company, the right to respect for their personal values and incentives for their professional advancement.
In addition, in this scope, companies will undertake to condemn any discriminatory practices based on race, religion, sex or illness.
The company’s aim is optimum satisfaction of clients’ requirements by providing services which satisfy them. It is the duty of the company to maintain a high standard of reliability, integrity and professionalism, manifested by constant updating of its technology resources and market practices and an awareness of the impact of the choices made by its clients in a wider environmental context. Such awareness will be instrumental to defining improved prioritisation of the solutions offered to clients in a context of enhancing the environment understood as areas lived in and changed by humans both on an individual (homes and offices) and also a community-wide scale (neighbourhoods, districts).
The commitment to competence, professionalism and transparency is a constant requirement during the conduct of business which must not be vitiated by a “race” for profits or in response to demands from clients or suppliers.
The company is part of specific and real environment. In this real environment it must adopt a constructive approach by promoting appropriate initiatives for enriching and growth of the “community”.
The conduct of economic activity and the generation of profit must be achieved with observance of the principle of long-term sustainability, in particular with reference to protecting the environment, use of resources and in relations with all stakeholders to preserve the legitimate expectations and interests of future generations.
Persons responsible for business choices and the associated responsibilities at various levels and in relation to the specific aspects of the company may be defined as “BUSINESS DECISION-MAKERS” and they are the point of reference for the ethical implications of corporate choices. Business decision-makers must fully consider the predetermined ethical criteria whether on behalf of a family concern or a company operated by managers.
Enterprises have a duty to ensure that persons appoint to key management roles are in possession of appropriate and extensive professional competence including in business ethics.
Preparation of the company’s financial statement must be guided by principles of fairness, truthfulness and clarity and provide interlocutors with impartial information in good faith on the company’s performance from the standpoint of its future survival and development.
In media and market communications companies must at all times be committed to providing a fair and truthful representation of the company and its business.
Various social solidarity initiatives may be adopted or encouraged by individual companies which are “instrumental” to raising awareness of the “social role” of the business by building up relationships and sharing growth with members of the Community in which the business operates.
By way of example:
a) the company invites its clients to allocate a percentage of remuneration to charitable works and at the same time undertakes to pay a double (and/or at least a matching) contribution for the same purpose;
b) the company encourages its staff to work as volunteers in their free time and undertakes to make a proportionate contribution to the project concerned.
Insofar as compatible with the company By-laws and for monitoring and incentivizing achievement of the goals set out in the ETHICAL PRINCIPLES, individual enterprises may appoint appropriate ETHICS COMMITTEES.
An ETHICS COMMITTEE will also be established at ASSOIMMOBILIARE with the task of raising awareness and promoting understanding of the Code and the ethical principles of member enterprises and also monitoring activities with a view to focussing on areas of mutual interest to members.
The Ethics Committee intends to identify standards of conduct and professionalism for its member companies.
It will also promote concrete initiatives, for example:
a) promotion vis-à-vis the Competent Authorities of draft laws or ethical and corporate reforms dictated by practical requirements;
b) identification of specific projects of social usefulness in the property Industry (health institutions, rehabilitation of buildings or regeneration of disused and neglected areas);
c) promotion/evaluation of ethical initiatives and solidarity projects/Corporate Social Responsibility vis-à-vis members/proposed by members;
d) evaluation of solidarity initiatives conducted by external parties (not-for profit and other associations) to which the Assoimmobiliare Ethics Committee could consider contributing;
e) interpretation of the ethical conduct of member companies on the basis of their codes of ethics if existing, when defining the Code of Ethics and ethical principles;
f) media communications on social solidarity initiatives undertaken to raise awareness and the importance of ethics in the property Industry.
It is to be hoped that member companies will obtain specific ethics certification.
Member companies must cooperate with the Ethics Committee by notifying any cases of breach or improper conduct by other members which could prejudice the professional standards or reputation of Assoimmobiliare, or even delegitimize the Code of Ethics and ethical principles.