A new United Nations report launched is the first of its kind to detail measures taken by the world’s top-earning companies to root out corruption in their ranks.
The publication a joint effort of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and PricewaterhouseCoopers highlights efforts by corporations of the Fortune Global 500 to stamp out and prevent corruption.
“The private sector has a lot to lose from corruption, and has considerable leverage to stop it,” UNODC Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa said at the report`s launch in Geneva.
Although the companies surveyed have different approaches to tackling corruption, the new study points out that they all recognize that many of their employees may not act as whistleblowers and report their colleagues due to fear of retaliation.
As a result, many corporations have set up anonymous hotlines, Internet-based whistleblower systems or appointed third-party ombudsmen, with nearly all having policies in place to protect those who report infringements.
Companies must also deal with so-called facilitation payments, a form of bribery to expedite or facilitate actions by public officials, which is prohibited by the UN Convention against Corruption, signed by 140 countries and ratified by 137 to date, the report noted.
But such payments are still part of business practices in many countries, it added.
“There is no one-size-fits-all set of rules to prevent corruption, but businesses should not go below international standards contained in the UN Convention against Corruption,” Costa stressed.
He called on business leaders to attend two key UN-backed conferences later this year: the Global Forum on Fighting Corruption and Safeguarding Integrity from 7-8 November, and the Conference of States Parties to the UN Convention against Corruption from 9-13 November, both in Doha, Qatar.
“This will be a golden opportunity to strengthen corporate responsibility in line with the world`s only universal anti-corruption instrument,” the UNODC head said.