TI study finds the world’s biggest companies need to be a lot more transparent

105 biggest public companies report most on codes of conduct, least on payments to governments

Issued by Transparency International Secretariat



Translations: ZH | FR | ES


The world’s largest publicly-traded companies are reporting more than in the past about their anti-corruption programmes but still need to do a lot more to increase transparency in reporting on their operations, according to a new study by anti-corruption group Transparency International.

Transparency in Corporate Reporting: Assessing the World’s Largest Companies scored 105 of the top publicly-traded companies based on their public commitment to transparency.

“Multinational corporations can and must play a significant role in the global fight against corruption. As the world continues to recover from the deep economic pain of 2008, the leadership at more companies must commit to stopping corruption,” said Transparency International’s Chair, Huguette Labelle.

Company scores ranged from 0 to 10, where 0 is the least transparent and 10 is the most transparent, and were based on public availability of information about anti-corruption systems, transparency in reporting on how they structure themselves and the amount of financial information they provide for each country they operate in.

Overall, companies showed improvement in their reporting on their commitments to anti-corruption programmes, as compared to a Transparency International study of the same companies from 2008.

Norway’s Statoil, the highest scoring company, scored 8.3. Statoil discloses significant information about its anti-corruption programmes, subsidiaries, taxes and profits across its 37 countries of operations.

Still, the study found that reporting by banks and insurers on transparency measures underperformed across the board even though opaque company structures played a contributing role in the recent financial crises and in spite of a significant focus on fixing the lack of transparency in this sector. The 24 financial companies included in the report scored an average of 4.2.

“If country-level financial information is not adequately disclosed, it is difficult to know how operations in many developing countries contribute to local governments. Experience has shown that the requirement to report encourages companies to build strong management systems supporting disclosures, and in the process improving their anti-corruption systems,” said Jermyn Brooks, Chair of Transparency International’s Business Advisory Board.

A lack of transparency makes it harder to identify where companies earn profits, pay taxes, or contribute to political campaigns. The study shows, for example, that about half of the companies evaluated do not disclose information about political contributions.

“The multinational companies remain an important part of the problem of corruption around the world. The time has come for them to be co-leading the solutions. For this they need to dramatically improve,” said Cobus de Swardt, Managing Director of Transparency International.

Transparency International calls on companies to fight corruption by disclosing more information about how they mitigate corruption and by making public how they are organised and how monies flow in the countries in which they operate. Only with this level of information can citizens the world over know how much money flows into public budgets, a key issue of accountability for governments everywhere.

Governments and regulators should make transparency obligatory for all companies seeking export subsidies or competing for public contracts. Investors should demand greater transparency in corporate reporting to ensure both ethical, sustainable business growth as well as sound risk management.

###

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


For any press enquiries please contact

Chris Sanders
Media and Public Relations Manager
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
+49 30 3438 20666

Latest

Support Transparency International

No hay cambios en las percepciones pese a los avances en América

En los últimos años, América Latina y el Caribe lograron adelantos significativos en la lucha contra la corrupción. En muchos países de la región existen ahora leyes y mecanismos para contrarrestar este fenómeno, las investigaciones legales están avanzando y los movimientos ciudadanos anticorrupción han incrementado. Sin embargo, de acuerdo con el Índice de Percepción de la Corrupción (IPC) 2017, la región continúa con bajos puntajes.

A redefining moment for Africa

The newly released Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) provides a good baseline for the African Union (AU) anti-corruption efforts in 2018. This year’s theme for the AU is “Winning the Fight against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation.” As the AU rolls out its plan, this is an important moment for Africa to take stock of the current situation.

Perceptions remain unchanged despite progress in the Americas

In the last few years, Latin America and the Carribbean made great strides in the fight against corruption. Laws and mechanisms exist to curb corruption, while legal investigations are advancing and citizen anti-corruption movements are growing in many countries across the region. However, according to the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 2017, the region continues to score poorly for corruption. How can we explain this contradiction?

Slow, Imperfect Progress across Asia Pacific

While no country in the Asia Pacific region scores a perfect 100, not even New Zealand or Singapore, which both experienced their share of scandals in the last year, our analysis reveals little progress across the region.

Europe and Central Asia: more civil engagement needed

In 2017, authoritarianism rose across Eastern and South East Europe, hindering anti-corruption efforts and threatening civil liberties. Across the region, civil society organisations and independent media experienced challenges in their ability to monitor and criticise decision-makers

Rampant Corruption in Arab States

In a region stricken by violent conflicts and dictatorships, corruption remains endemic in the Arab states while assaults on freedom of expression, press freedoms and civil society continue to escalate.

Digging deeper into corruption, violence against journalists and active civil society

To mark the release of the Corruption Perceptions Index 2017, we analysed corruption levels around the world and looked at how they relate to civil liberties – specifically, the ability of citizens to speak out in defence of their interests and the wider public good.

Social Media

Follow us on Social Media

Would you like to know more?

Sign up to stay informed about corruption news and our work around the world