Anti-corruption / Corprate governance

What’s new in ICC’s 2023 Rules on Combating Corruption?

  • 12 December 2023

ICC has launched its new 2023 Rules on Combating Corruption setting a new benchmark for corporate practice in managing integrity risks throughout global value chains.

Recognised as a flagship tool for building business integrity around the world, the new ICC Rules update the previous 2011 edition according to new standards and corporate practices. They have been developed under the leadership of the ICC Global Commission on Anti-corruption and Corporate Responsibility

The 2023 Rules on Combating Corruption were launched on December 11 by ICC Chair Maria Fernanda Garza at the start of the UN Conference of the States Parties to UN CAC in Atlanta. The 10th Conference of States Parties (CoSP 10), on the 20th anniversary of the UN Convention against Corruption, takes stock of what more can be done to enhance the implementation of this legally binding instrument. 

Ahead of the release, we sat down with Viviane Schiavi, ICC Global Policy Lead on Anti-corruption and Corporate Responsibility to learn more about the new rules and what role businesses can play in the fight against corruption.   

What changes or additions have been made to the new ICC Rules on Combating Corruption, and how do they address current challenges in preventing corruption? 

What’s new here is that the 2023 ICC Rules on Combating Corruption bolster provisions to enable reporting mechanisms that play a key role in uncovering and deterring wrongdoing. Also, the new Rules reinforce the section on engaging and managing Third Parties, because Third Parties often present the weak integrity link in the supply chain. Last, but not least, for the first time, ICC’s Rules on Combating Corruption call for the promotion of Responsible Business Conduct, as enterprises are increasingly expected to make positive contributions to achieving sustainable development and expected to avoid and address adverse impacts related to an enterprise’s operations. 

What steps can businesses take to stamp out corruption? 

The first step is that companies should establish a code of conduct or company rules establishing that corrupt practices are prohibited at all times and in all forms. This includes Commercial or Public Bribery, Extortion or Solicitation, Trading in Influence and Laundering the proceeds of these practices. The prohibition applies whether these acts of corruption are engaged in directly or indirectly (e.g., using Third Parties).  Businesses need to also take a proactive, constructive stance by building compliance programmes based on risk assessments adapted to the nature of their business activity, to identify, manage and address integrity. The compliance programme can contain guidance on political and charitable contributions, conflicts of interest, gifts, hospitality and so forth.  

What is ICC’s role in influencing global anti-corruption efforts? 

ICC has long upheld the critical role of enterprises’ compliance with self-imposed rules while recognising the basic responsibility of international organisations and national governments in the fight against corruption and in the promotion of responsible business conduct. ICC was the first business organisation to issue anti-corruption rules as early as 1977, with its ICC Rules to Combat Extortion and Bribery. We have since developed a robust suite of practical rules and guidelines for responsible business conduct, developed for business by business. ICC believes that only a corruption-free system will enable all participants to compete on a level playing field. 

What potential impact do these updated rules have on the day-to-day operations of businesses? 

We see that these new Rules will provide a tool that will set a new benchmark for corporate practice in managing integrity risks throughout global value chains. These go-to Rules can often be incredibly useful for SMEs that don’t necessarily have legal departments and just need to know concretely what the considerations are and what they need to put in place. 

Read more on the new 2023 ICC Rules on Combating Corruption 

Learn more about ICC’s work on Anti-Corruption .