Time to redouble companies’ commitment to anti-corruption, say global business leaders in Spain conference

  • 23 October 2018

Companies must go beyond corporate social responsibility (CSR) and become anti-corruption champions to secure inclusive growth for all.

At an ICC conference on responsible business conduct in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, business leaders emphatically insisted on the need for companies to take serious new steps against the corrosive impact of corruption on economies and societies worldwide.

“Corruption threatens the integrity of markets, undermines fair competition, destroys the trust of citizens and destabilises the rule of law,” said Maria Fernanda Garza, President of ICC Mexico and ICC Regional Coordinator for the Americas. “To continue on this course and not take the necessary actions to eradicate corrupt business practices would substantially contribute to the public disillusionment that has been surging in many democratic states with open economies.”

Indeed, the 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer, which polled over 30,000 individuals in 28 countries, found that trust has deeply declined in a number of liberal democracies, including Japan, Ireland, France and the United States.

Beyond regulatory compliance

Participants at the Palma de Mallorca conference—co-organised by ICC and ICC Spain and including a number of prominent companies such as Repsol, Deloitte and Heineken—were adamant that business has a key role to play in encouraging greater transparency in markets.

“Society and consumers are demanding that the private sector take more responsibility for social issues, going beyond regulatory compliance,” said Sebastian Escarrer, Chairman of ICC Spain and Board Member of Meliá Hotels International—a key sponsor of the event.

This responsibility means measuring companies’ performance not merely according to economic criteria but also by the way they integrate environmental, social and governance objectives as well. All these tendencies aim at setting higher standards of behaviour and can go a long way to revitalising the public bonds of trust that underpin peaceful societies and prosperous economies.

To take this step, participants at the Palma de Mallorca conference agreed that an appropriate toolkit from companies is pivotal and highlighted the launch of ICC’s Business Integrity Compendium—now available in Spanish. The flagship project of ICC’s Commission on Corporate Responsibility and Anti-Corruption, the Compendium brings together the self-regulatory tools which have been developed over the last decades by ICC’s network of experts and practitioners, hailing from all sectors of industry, commerce and finance.

“The ICC Business Integrity Compendium provides essential guidance on responsible business conduct for companies of all sizes,” said Denis Simonneau, Chair of the ICC Commission and Senior Vice-President, Group International Affairs, at L’Oréal. “Ensuring corruption-free markets are prerequisites to enabling companies to compete on a level-playing field and fostering an inclusive global economy.”

Read more about ICC’s corporate responsibility and anti-corruption work on our website.