By my count the laws of 25 nations either require or create strong incentives for firms doing business in their country to have an anticorruption compliance program. Making it against company policy for employees or agents to participate in any corrupt act with sanctions ranging from demotion to termination is a no-brainer. Corporate employees, consultants, and agents are always on the paying side of a bribery offense and often facilitate conflicts of interest and other corrupt and unethical acts. There is no reason why countries fighting corruption should not enlist the private sector in the fight.
Even when national law doesn’t require a compliance program, it makes sense for many reasons — legal, reputational, managerial — for companies to have one. The OECD has been a leader in persuading businesses large and small of the benefits of compliance programs and with the World Bank and the UNODC issued an invaluable guide to creating one. Its latest effort to persuade businesses why they should establish a compliance program examines why so many companies have established one even when not required to do so, how the programs work, and what companies’ experience with them has been. The study, “Corporate Anti-Corruption Compliance Drivers, Mechanisms, and Ideas for Change,” will be discussed at a September 23 webinar 15:00 Paris time. Registration will open shortly. Details are here.