Engaging the private sector in the fight against corruption
Filed under - Private sector
What's at stake?
Corruption in the private sector takes many forms, among them bribery, undue influence, fraud, money laundering and collusion. Corruption distorts markets and has a negative impact on society as a whole, in both the developing and the developed world. Private sector corruption contributes to environmental damage, health and safety problems, economic instability and human rights violations by diverting scarce resources, both financial and human. Private sector corruption erodes confidence in public institutions and deprives citizens of capital needed for economic growth.
What we’re doing about it
Efforts to tackle private sector corruption require the engagement of multiple stakeholders. In this spirit, Transparency International builds and works with coalitions of governments, public institutions and civil society to advocate for a stronger and more effective anti-corruption environment. We work to create a level playing field at the highest possible standard of ethics and good practice.
We also work with companies and business associations to promote more robust anti-corruption behaviour. Through our Business Principles for Countering Bribery and other tools, we assist companies in the development and implementation of anti-corruption programmes.
Transparency International also conducts research on private sector corruption. That research informs the development of standards and tools for combatting corruption.
And we report on the transparency of businesses in order to enable citizens, investors, employees and other stakeholders to hold them accountable for their activity.
Transparency International convenes and chairs the Business Principles Steering Committee, a multi-stakeholder group of businesses, civil society, trade unions and experts. The Steering Committee is responsible for the Business Principles for Countering Bribery, a leading anti-bribery code for business. We have also developed a suite of practical tools for business based on the Business Principles. In addition to the private sector work we lead, Transparency International works with a number of governmental, non-governmental and civil society organisations in the fight against corruption, including among them:
- The Partnering Against Corruption Initiative (PACI) of World Economic Forum
- Group of Twenty Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors (G20 and the business group, B20)
- The Task Force for Financial Integrity
- The Wolfsberg Group
- The United Nations Global Compact
- The Global Reporting Initiative
Our national chapters engage with the private sector in their localities in a number of ways, both formal and informal. Formal engagements include Corporate Supporters Forums, Business Integrity Programmes, and support or advisory services.
Research shows that companies with anti-corruption programmes and ethical guidelines are found to suffer up to 50 per cent fewer incidents of corruption, and to be less likely to lose business opportunities than companies without such programmes. We establish standards and support for companies of all sizes with a six-step process for building an effective anti-corruption programme, self-evaluation tool, anti-corruption reporting guidance and assurance framework.
In view of the significance of the financial sector to the overall economy and its poor performance leading to the economic crisis of 2008, the financial sector is the focus of industry-specific research and advocacy. Issues of particular importance to Transparency International’s fight against corruption in the financial industry are corporate governance (management of conflicts of interest and undue influence) and stemming the flow of the proceeds of corruption (money laundering). We work with public institutions, civil society and businesses to promote greater transparency and greater accountability from the financial sector.
Research and reporting
Stakeholders, including citizens and regulators, need empirical information to hold businesses accountable for their activity. To this end, Transparency International conducts and publishes research on transparency in corporate reporting based on three dimensions of anti-corruption behaviour (anti-corruption programmes, organisational transparency and country-by-country reporting). In addition, we measure and report on public perceptions of corruption and bribery.
Timeline and results
- 2003: Publication of first edition of the Business Principles for Countering Bribery
- 2008: Publication of first edition of Business Principles for Countering Bribery – Small and medium enterprise (SME) edition
- June 2012: Presentation of B20 recommendations at the G20 Summit in Los Cabos
- June 2012: Assurance Framework for Corporate Anti-Bribery Programmes launched in London
- June 2012: Presentation of UNGC Risk Assessment Guidance at Rio+20
- July 2012: Transparency in Corporate Reporting: Assessing the World's Largest Companies published
- Autumn 2012: Meeting of the Business Principles Steering Committee
- March 2013: Public consultation on revised version of the Business Principles launched
- Autumn 2013: Launch of Business Integrity Toolkit
- December 2013: Publication of revised Business Principles for Countering Bribery