Kalin Slavov, TIB: Whistleblowing’s Directive is an Evolution of the Organizational Culture of the Bulgarian Business

On November 30th, 2023, AmCham Bulgaria in partnership with Penkov, Markov, and Partners, and cooperation with the Commission for Personal Data Protection (CPDP) and with Transparency International Bulgaria (TIB) organized “Bulgaria’s Whistleblowing Act – Needed Steps Towards Good Governance”.

Speakers at the event were the representatives of CDPD: Ventsislav Karadzhov, Chairman, Atanaska Georgieva, Director, Whistleblowing Signals Channel Directorate, Lyubomir Grancharov, State Expert, Legal, and International Affairs Directorate, of Penkov, Markov & Partners Team: Vladimir Penkov, Chairman and Senior Partner, Asen Apostolov, Associated Partner, Nikolay Voynov, Associated Partner, and Anna Krusteva, Attorney-at-law, as well as by Kalin Slavov, Executive Director, TIB, and Ivan Mihaylov, CEO, AmCham Bulgaria.

Kalin Slavov’s main topic was the correlation between the ESG concept and the whistleblowing directive.

With his presentation, he showcased the importance of the gradual introduction of mechanisms to protect whistleblowers and reduce the risk of corruption in modern management is part of the evolving understanding of good governance.

“What started as good business practices, industry self-regulation, and various variations of soft law are now part of the OECD guidelines for state-owned enterprises and organizations, and the political documents of the G20 and B20. The understanding of good governance has gradually developed into the ESG concept, which in turn has found its normative anchoring in EU law and law regulations of member states (Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD)).”, Kalin Slavov added.

Since its establishment in 1998, the focus of “Transparency without Borders” has been actively working to promote the principles of good governance in both the public and private sectors. In this context, the Association is actively involved as part of Transparency International in promoting the reporting of irregularities in organizations and businesses as part of the ESG concept and promoting business integrity values.

Kalin Slavov underlined that whistleblowing’s directive implementation in Bulgaria is a value transformation.

It is an evolution of the organizational culture of Bulgarian businesses, that shares the values of trust, transparency, and accountability. This implies an environment in which speaking up about irregularities and potential challenges is not seen as negative for the person raising the issue but rather an opportunity for timely resolution and improvement of processes. It is the role of “internal reporting channels,” as referred to in the Law. 

Other topics in the presentation were: 

  • The importance of diversity of channels for employees to share before they decide to become whistleblowers.
  • Confidentiality is connected to irregularities. 
  • The importance of Bulgarian law and administrative punishment. 
  • Organizational culture as the most important asset of the organization’s stakeholders. 

In conclusion, Kalin Slavov noted, that the transformation in the values of corporate culture makes the current moment even more important because all stakeholders must remain active, and we must all work together to create this change that benefits both businesses and has practical applications without becoming another administrative burden for businesses.