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Companies can curb corruption risks with updated anti-bribery framework

As the risk environment increases for companies worldwide, Transparency International (TI) today published the latest edition of a cutting-edge multi-stakeholder code that sets out best practice for companies seeking to address the threat of bribery.

Changes to foreign bribery laws and a recent trend towards more vigorous enforcement of such laws have shown that a failure to address bribery can exact a very high cost on companies. The 2009 edition of the Business Principles for Countering Bribery is a useful and current tool for companies dealing with the challenge and risks posed by bribery. The tool reflects recent developments in anti-bribery practice worldwide and incorporates approaches by business, academia and civil society.

“The current economic crisis is a sobering reminder of what can happen when companies ignore or fail to manage risks to their business,” noted Jermyn Brooks, Director of Private Sector Programmes at Transparency International. “In these difficult economic times, companies may be tempted to relax their consideration of risk in order to reduce costs or in their search for new markets,” cautioned Brooks. “But, more than ever, enterprises need to be aware of and effectively manage the full range of risks they face, including that of bribery.”

Since its initial publication in 2003, the Business Principles have been used by many leading companies around the world to benchmark their own anti-bribery policies and procedures. The tool has also served as a solid basis for the development of other anti-bribery codes and voluntary initiatives

The 2009 edition charts new territory by placing greater emphasis on public reporting of anti-bribery systems and in recommending that enterprises commission external verification or assurance of their anti-bribery programme.

Highlights of the 2009 Business Principles for Countering Bribery:

  • how enterprises should apply their programme to business relationships with a focus on the leadership role of the Board of Directors and senior management
  • special emphasis on the anti-bribery standards enterprises should establish in their business relationships by providing greater detail on companies’ management of subsidiaries, joint ventures, agents, contractors and suppliers
  • details on how a company’s anti-corruption programme should cover bribes, political contributions, charitable contributions and sponsorships, facilitation payments, gifts and hospitality

The Business Principles were developed by an international Steering Committee drawn from business, academia, trade unions and NGOs who contributed to the 2009 edition, which was updated to reflect changes in anti-bribery practice.

For a copy of the Business Principles for Countering Bribery and to view the additional tools TI has developed for business, click here.


Transparency International is the civil society organisation leading the fight against corruption

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Gypsy Guillén Kaiser
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