While globalisation has provided transformational benefits to societies around the world, the gains can be undermined by unethical behaviour and corrupt decision-making, which in turn can exacerbate inequality, deter investment and subvert international competition.
Recent years have seen the private sector redouble efforts to foster a global culture of transparency, working alongside governments and other stakeholders to strengthen due diligence systems and ensure that third-party service providers, business partners and direct employees are all adhering to the same legal and ethical standards.
This week, government, business and civil society leaders gather at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) 2018 Global Anti-corruption and Integrity Forum to discuss how to regain public trust in institutions and ensure that the benefits of a global economy on the upswing are fairly shared.
ICC was the first business organisation to issue anti-corruption rules in 1977. Here is what we’re doing to further more transparent and inclusive marketplaces:
Fostering public-private dialogue
ICC works closely with the United Nations (UN) to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for Sustainable Development Goal 16 through responsible business, and a key partner in this area is the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights.
ICC regional representatives or national committees also ensure that a strong dialogue with governments is kept at the regional level, especially in areas with high levels of corruption.
ICC Brazil recently hosted the Federal Bureau of Investigation to develop effective anti-corruption strategies in collaboration with Brazilian business executives.
Securing supply chains
A major challenge for multinationals with numerous intermediaries is performing effective due diligence to ensure integrity in global supply chains but it can be even more challenging for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). To help them, ICC launched a small business-tailored due diligence tool for third parties, to ensure that SMEs can protect themselves from corruption risks in a manageable, cost-effective way.
Cracking down on illicit goods
ICC also works to raise awareness of the role of supply chain intermediaries in tackling the trade of fake goods – an issue that the OECD Forum will explore in a panel on illicit trade on Wednesday 28 March.
With fake goods accounting for 2% of the total value of global trade, illicit goods have a destructive impact on international trade. They can also prove harmful to consumers, as all kinds of products are counterfeited including electronics, toys, shampoos and toothpastes, crop products and even pharmaceuticals.
ICC’s Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP) has ramped up action since the last OECD Integrity Forum, through collaboration on a historic partnership between brands and the maritime industry to reverse the growing number of counterfeit goods traded globally. Earlier this month, ICC BASCAP also launched a Know-Your-Customer paper to help freight forwarders and vessel operators identify and prevent fake goods transport at sea.
Encouraging corporate cultures of transparency
An effective way of stamping out corruption, as reflected in discussions at the OECD Integrity Forum in recent years, is by fostering a culture of integrity that goes beyond the remit of the compliance function. For small companies without the resources to incorporate a legal team, these values are essential to preventing unethical behaviour and reducing regulatory risk.
As business leaders lay out strategies for sustained performance in the coming years, tackling systemic social issues and contributing to economic development is a top priority. Such a culture is all the more important given that millennial workers are shown to be increasingly conscious of the social and ethical values of the companies they choose to work for.
ICC has long been an advocate for self-regulation, and was the first business organisation to issue anti-corruption rules in 1977. ICC’s one-stop-shop for anti-corruption tools, the ICC Business Integrity Compendium, was launched at the ICC International Integrity and Anti-corruption Forum last December and has just been released in e-book format for ease of reference and to reach an even wider audience.