Your ideas welcome: help us set higher standards in state-owned companies

Your ideas welcome: help us set higher standards in state-owned companies

Note: This feature was updated on 15 August 2017 as the consultation period closed.

From health care to energy production, state-owned enterprises provide some of the most vital goods and services around the world. Three of the world’s 10 biggest companies, measured by sales, are Chinese state-owned enterprises.

These companies employ millions of people and control vital pieces of some of the world’s biggest economies, like the electricity grid, hospitals and energy imports.

Like private companies, state-owned firms also face corruption risks. But state-owned enterprises are in some ways a special case because of avenues for interference from politicians and public officials, and the potential for bribery related to lucrative public contracts, or when state assets are bought or sold.

Poorly governed state-owned enterprises can also encounter conflicts of interest among board members and managers, or when board members and employees are not selected on merit.

One only need look at the massive corruption scandal surrounding the Brazilian state-owned energy company Petrobras to see the multiple layers of corruption risk involved when billions of dollars are channelled through public agencies and services. The scandal brought down a government, implicated another 18 companies and severely tarnished the reputation of Brazil on the global stage.

How do we tackle corruption at state-owned companies?

Corruption at state-owned companies is not new, but with their increasing economic importance and global spread, innovative ways are needed to fight this scourge. For this purpose, Transparency International and a multi-stakeholder working group including state-owned enterprises have created the State-Owned Enterprises Principles for Countering Corruption.

The State-Owned Enterprises Principles draws upon Transparency International’s Business Principles for Countering Bribery. Also developed in a multi-stakeholder process and first published in 2002, these principles have become a global standard referenced in a range of other international anti-bribery initiatives as well as tools produced by Transparency International and its chapters.

Transparency International has now posted the draft State-Owned Enterprises Principles below for expert consultation. We invite everyone involved with state-owned enterprises, including directors who lead their work, academics who study them, government officials who oversee them, their customers, their employees and members of the public to consult the draft and take our survey [Editor's note: Links to the draft and survey removed on 15 Aug 2017, since the public consultation period had closed]. Please give us your feedback on how to make them better, more fit-for-purpose and ultimately, more useful.

Help us help state-owned enterprises stop corruption at the factory gate.

Image: Creative Commons, Flickr / Carl Tanzler

For any press enquiries please contact press@transparency.org

Latest

Support Transparency International

Risk of impunity increases with outcome of Portuguese-Angolan corruption trial

A verdict last week by the Lisbon Court of Appeals in the trial of former Angolan vice president Manuel Vicente has disappointed hopes for a triumph of legal due process over politics and impunity. It also has worrying implications for the independence of Portugal’s judiciary.

The UK just made it harder for the corrupt to hide their wealth offshore

If counted together, the United Kingdom and its Overseas Territories and Crown dependencies would rank worst in the world for financial secrecy. Fortunately, this could soon change.

The new IMF anti-corruption framework: 3 things we’ll be looking for a year from now

Last Sunday, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) unveiled its long-awaited framework for “enhanced” engagement with countries on corruption and governance issues. Here are three aspects we at Transparency International will be looking at closely in coming months as the new policy is rolled out.

While the G20 drags its feet, the corrupt continue to benefit from anonymous company ownership

The corrupt don’t like paper trails, they like secrecy. What better way to hide corrupt activity than with a secret company or trust as a front? You can anonymously open bank accounts, make transfers and launder dirty money. If the company is not registered in your name, it can't always be traced back to you.

Urging leaders to act against corruption in the Americas

The hot topic at the 2018 Summit of the Americas is how governments can combat corruption at the highest levels across North and South America.

The impact of land corruption on women: insights from Africa

As part of International Women’s Day, Transparency International is launching the Women, Land and Corruption resource book. This is a collection of unique articles and research findings that describe and analyse the prevalence of land corruption in Africa – and its disproportionate effect on women – presented together with innovative responses from organisations across the continent.

Passport dealers of Europe: navigating the Golden Visa market

Coast or mountains? Real estate or business investment? Want your money back in five years? If you're rich, there are an array of options for European ‘Golden Visas’ at your fingertips, each granting EU residence or citizenship rights.

Social Media

Follow us on Social Media