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, the OECD 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.
” There is no reason why countries fighting corruption should not enlist the private sector in the fight.” In some Latin American countries I would re phrase this line as follow: “There is no reason why PRIVATE SECTOR fighting corruption should not enlist GOVERNMENTS in the fight”. This is not a critic to your article, it makes sense in places where the rule of law is followed. I think that, in other places, some multinational companies have a compliance program regardless the level of corruption in a particular country. Marcelo de Jesús – FORES – Argentina
Thanks for the comment. I have always wondered what effect foreign corporations’ compliance programs would have in countries where corruption prevalent. Or at least not rare. Would it “level up” compliance with the law? Would the foreign corporations lobby government for better enforcement? Or would those corporations that take compliance seriously simply pack up and leave?
Great info, Richard. Will have my students connected. Thank you,
This seems germane to understanding the interplay between corruption, the private sector, and government regulations. If the government and its political infrastructure are corrupt and therefore don’t regulate (or don’t enforce existing regulations) what incentives drive the private sector to create anticorruption compliance schemes? Really interested in the event – thanks for flagging!