More news from the groups formerly known as the Ethics & Compliance Officer Association and the Ethics Resource Center: the two groups have been subsumed into a new “Ethics & Compliance Initiative,” which has spawed a third wing, the Ethics & Compliance Certification Institute, to certify compliance professionals. The ECI made the announcement at a conference this week.

“It’s time to move organizational ethics and compliance forward and invite practitioners, thought-leaders and partners at every level, from every sector, from everywhere in the world, to lead the movement,” said Pat Harned, long-time president of the Ethics Resource Center (ERC) and head of both organizations. “We’re driving a movement forward that is about new ideas grounded in research; a movement that connects practitioners and their peers in meaningful ways to share and to become certified.”

The ERC is a non-profit group devoted to independent research and advancement of high ethical standards and practices in public and private institutions. ERC’s research analyzes current and emerging issues to produce new ideas and benchmarks, while the Ethics & Compliance Association (formerly the ECOA) promotes learning and sharing by connecting practitioners, thought leaders, academicians, partners, and non-practitioners alike.

By combining the capabilities of these two groups, the ECI “integrates research, best practice, certification, and access to global E&C thought leaders,” said Lee Augsburger, chair of the Ethics & Compliance Association (ECA). Since announcing the merger last October, ECI said it’s been gathering input from members to better understand what companies need to not only navigate current ethics and compliance issues, but also how to anticipate issues that may be on the horizon.

In describing the Ethics & Compliance Certification Institute (ECCI), ECI said in an announcement this week that this new organization “represents a new rigor in education and certification for ethics and compliance practitioners. Certification through the ECCI helps organizations reach a new level of program excellence.”

Supporting the activities of the entire enterprise is the ECI’s resource center—the most complete, single resource for the industry that includes ERC-produced research, including surveys by the National Business Ethics Survey (NBES); industry white papers; online forums; and other resources that complement ethics and compliance practices. The resource center will be launched in the coming months.