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63 multinational companies take first step towards implementing anti-bribery principles

Companies from energy, engineering and construction, and metals and mining sectors sign up to anti-bribery policy derived from TI’s Business Principles for Countering Bribery

Transparency International (TI) welcomes the fact that 63 companies have now signed a public anti-corruption commitment at or before this year's World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, up from 21 companies who signed the initiative in Davos in 2004. The Partnering Against Corruption Initiative (PACI) is supported by TI, WEF and the Basel Institute on Governance.

The commitment is based on principles derived from the Business Principles for Countering Bribery developed by TI in partnership with Social Accountability International and a multi-stakeholder steering committee including leading international companies. TI is the leading global non-governmental organisation devoted to combating corruption.

"While welcoming the increasing number of multinational companies signing up to anti-bribery principles, it is essential that they now turn words into actions by detailed implementation and public disclosure of their anti-corruption policies," said Jermyn Brooks, a member of TI's international Board of Directors, and a member of the Board of PACI. TI is now working to develop tools that will assist companies in monitoring their performance in relation to anti-bribery policies.

"The PACI initiative is an important first step towards zero tolerance of corruption," said Brooks. "It also represents a move towards the comprehensive approach taken in TI's Business Principles for Countering Bribery." In particular, he stressed, "the commitment to implementation made by the companies must be backed up by clear reporting lines, advisory structures and whistleblower protection, and the creation of a culture where employees and business partners know that bribery is not tolerated. It is important that companies include anti-bribery training for staff at all levels and in all locations, in particular in frontline developing countries where the bribery is most likely to take place."

PACI calls for a zero-tolerance policy towards bribery, and the development of a practical and effective implementation programme. The companies' public commitment means they will either implement or improve their anti-bribery practices. The addition in June 2004 of a 10th Anti-Corruption Principle to the UN Global Compact has created additional impetus for companies to implement anti-bribery policies. More than 2,000 companies worldwide have signed up to the Global Compact, which seeks to strengthen corporate social responsibility by commitment to human and labour rights, environmental standards and anti-corruption principles.

Since the 2004 Davos meeting, the PACI Board has been working with three industry sectors, namely energy, engineering and construction, and mining and metals. TI is working to reduce corruption in a number of industry sectors, with particular emphasis on construction which surveys show to be the most corrupt of all sectors, and the TI Global Corruption Report 2005, which will be published on 16 March 2005, includes a special focus on corruption in the construction industry and in post-conflict reconstruction.

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