EU rules will put business anti-corruption efforts in spotlight
Transparency International EU welcomes the proposals published by the European Commission today that would require approximately 18,000 European companies to be more transparent about their efforts to combat corruption and bribery. The proposed amendment to the Accounting Directives means that companies with more than 500 employees would need to publicly disclose their anti-bribery and anti-corruption policies, as well as the results of these policies.
"The private sector has a critical role in the fight against corruption in the EU, and these proposals will help determine if the biggest companies are playing their part ”, said Jana Mittermaier, Director of the Transparency International EU Office. “The measures would help to raise awareness about corruption risks in the private sector and steps that companies can take to address them. It would enable investors and civil society to do their work in reminding companies to live up to their responsibilities. While even the best company reporting cannot ensure good company behaviour, it is an indication of commitment, awareness and action”.
Transparency International’s 2012 report on corporate transparency  showed that while some multinational companies report on certain aspects of their anti-corruption programmes, there is significant room for improvement. Few companies indicate that there is a prohibition on “facilitation payments” – bribes paid to officials to speed up routine transactions to which they should normally be entitled such as customs procedures – and reporting on the monitoring of anti-corruption programmes tends to be weak.
The Commission’s proposals are part of a package designed to make companies more transparent about their environmental and social impacts. Companies concerned will need to disclose information on policies, risks and results as regards environmental matters, social and employee-related aspects, respect for human rights, anti-corruption and bribery issues, and diversity on the boards of directors.
The proposals will need the approval of the European Parliament and EU member states before becoming law.
 Transparency International’s Transparency in Corporate Reporting analyses the transparency of corporate reporting on a range of anticorruption measures among the 105 largest publicly listed multinational companies. The companies surveyed scored an average of 68% in their reporting on anti-corruption programmes, where a 100% means full transparency.
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