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Our History


The Center for Business Ethics and Corporate Governance (CFBE) was co-founded in Saint Petersburg, Russia in 2000 by a group of leading Russian attorneys, the U.S. management consultancy firm Sovereign Ventures Inc., the Russian firm Bronze Lion LLC, and a U.S. non-profit, the Ethics Resource Center. At the request of the Government of the City of Saint Petersburg, CFBE created the “Declaration of Integrity in Business Conduct”, an integrity pact designed to provide an ethical basis for relations between the public and private sectors in the region. Over 140 businesses signed the Declaration and made a voluntary pledge to repudiate corrupt practices and adopt a code of ethics.

Since its inception, CFBE has broken new ground to help build the foundation of a rules-based market economy in Russia. We have worked directly with Russian federal and local government agencies as well as non-profit organizations, research institutes and business associations to develop new laws, institutions and codes. CFBE helped create the Russian Corporate Governance Code, the first integrity pact in Russia, and a Russian-language manual for how to build an ethical company. We have been engaged by leading Russian and international companies to help foster local best practices of corporate governance and anti-corruption compliance. CFBE has also helped establish other civil society organizations in Russia, assisting in the launch of Transparency International and the National Corporate Governance Council. 

In 2010, Center Chair Matthew Murray and General Electric's Sandy Merber co-authored the Russian Energy Compliance concept, bringing together a group of major multinationals, Russian companies, government agencies, professional service firms, NGOs, and universities to engage in a collective effort to improve ethics, transparency, accessibility, and cost effectiveness of the procurement process for the new $200B Russian Energy Grid initiative.  

In January 2012, the Center moved its registration to the United States, becoming a non-profit 501C3 organization.  Its Russia-focused projects are not affected by this change.

In March 2012, the Center's Founding Chair, Matthew Murray, left the Center to take a Presidential appointment as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Europe and Eurasia.  He was replaced by CFBE board member Patricia Dowden.

In 2012, the Center was invited by B20 Anti-Corruption Working Group Co-Chair Sandy Merber to submit the RECA concept to the 2013 Russia-hosted B20/G20 as a model for a global anti-corruption model.