Transparency International welcomes decision by UN Global Compact members to make anti-corruption a tenth principle, but calls on corporations to put principle into action by adopting tough anti-corruption policies
A tenth principle calling on companies to work against corruption was added to the existing nine principles of the UN Global Compact, according to an announcement today by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Transparency International (TI), the world's leading non-governmental organisation committed to fighting corruption, welcomed this announcement, which successfully concludes a consultation process that involved the Global Compact's more than 1,200 corporate and civil society members. The anti-corruption principle will be added to the Compact's nine existing principles of good corporate citizenship in the areas of human rights, labour and the environment, now endorsed by some 1,700 participants.
"The overwhelmingly positive response of participants to the addition of an anti-bribery principle shows that companies are waking up to the need to fight corruption," said TI Chairman Peter Eigen, speaking in New York today at the UN Global Compact Leaders Summit, where Kofi Annan made the announcement. TI has consistently advocated the explicit inclusion of transparency as an essential core principle in the Compact. According to Eigen, who is also a member of the Secretary-General's Advisory Council on the Global Compact, "corruption is anathema to everything the Compact stands for. By tackling corruption, you also strike at a root cause of environmental, human rights and labour abuses. A company's bottom line is at risk, since the recent corporate scandals, from Enron and Tyco to Parmalat, have clearly shown that corruption is bad for business."
TI Board member Jermyn Brooks, also attending the summit in New York today, said: "As a voluntary corporate citizenship initiative, the Global Compact is an effort to make the global economy more sustainable and inclusive." He continued: "The challenge will now be to add flesh to this new principle through the adoption and subsequent implementation by corporations of detailed anti-corruption policies."
Recognising that companies need tools to help them break the cycle of corruption, TI and its partners have developed a range of anti-corruption instruments for the private sector, such as the Business Principles for Countering Bribery, which provide a practical framework for implementing no-bribes policies. Developed by TI and Social Accountability International, and an international multi-stakeholder steering committee including leading international companies, the Business Principles provide for a comprehensive approach to countering bribery by companies ranging from internal polices and practices to extending their practices to business partners and the supply chain. The Principles have been endorsed or adopted by leading multinationals. Similarly, the TI Integrity Pact, a no-bribes agreement signed by all participants in major procurement transactions, serves to free businesses from having to bribe in order to be competitive, and leads to considerable savings in public funds.
TI worked closely with the UN Global Compact office to integrate into the Compact the new global consensus on corruption, as reflected in the recent signing of the UN Convention against Corruption by more than 100 countries. This addition of a principle to the Compact is to remain an absolute exception.
For more information about the UN Global Compact, see www.unglobalcompact.org.
For more information about the Business Principles for Countering Bribery and the TI Integrity Pact, see www.transparency.org.
For any press enquiries please contact
Tel: +49-30-3438 2045
Fax: +49-30-3470 3912