Companies and organizations can play a major role in the anti-corruption movement.

  • December 8, 2017
  • Lee Kirschbaum

On December 9th, governments, the private sector, NGOs, the media and citizens around the world are joining forces to fight corruption as part of the United Nation’s annual International Anti-Corruption Day. This year’s theme is “United Against Corruption,” in recognition of corruption being a global concern that affects rich and poor countries and businesses and individual citizens alike.

When it comes to stopping corruption, companies have an important role to play. By implementing internal safeguards, as well as assessing and monitoring third parties for corruption risk, organizations can be active participants in the global anti-corruption movement.

Why Corruption is a Global Problem

Because we live in an interconnected world with unprecedented levels of global trade and capital flows, the potential for corruption has never been higher. The past few years have brought greater awareness and enforcement of anti-corruption regulations, but there’s still significant room for improvement.

Every year, over $1.5 trillion is paid in bribes and an estimated $2.6 trillion is stolen annually through corruption. That’s equivalent to more than 5 percent of the global GDP. In addition,  57% of people globally believe their governments are not doing a good job of fighting corruption.

In countries with poorly functioning or untrustworthy public institutions, corruption is higher because ignoring regulations lacks repercussions. Even in countries with stronger enforcement, corruption remains a large problem as some find ways to circumvent and conceal their lack of compliance with mandatory regulations.

Besides the monetary impact, the United Nations reports that corruption stifles economic growth and leads to less respect for human rights, less provision of services, and less employment. Overall, the evidence shows that corruption touches everyone, and to fight it requires global cooperation.

How Organizations Can Take Steps to Prevent Corruption

There are several key regulations in place targeted at halting corruption. These include the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the Canadian CFPOA and the UK Bribery Act. In response to increasing regulations, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) released ISO 37001 in October 2016 to help companies stay compliant.

ISO 37001 has several key benefits, perhaps most notably its application to help companies design a new anti-bribery and anti-corruption program, or to help measure and continually improve an existing program. Establishing a comprehensive anti-corruption program is one of the best ways a company can fight global corruption. It not only helps to prevent corruption internally but demonstrates a strong posture against it. Under ISO 37001, companies can also receive certification as a tangible demonstration of a company’s commitment to good anti-bribery and anti-corruption practices.

Another significant though sometimes overlooked part of preventing corruption is managing third-party risk. Companies that do business with third parties are responsible for their third parties’ actions, even if they are unaware of any illegal activities.

Today’s global organizations may have thousands of third party relationships that present corruption risks. By following due diligence best practices, companies can ensure compliance while also reducing the global prevalence of corruption. This requires comprehensive and consistent due diligence in the selection of agents, consultants and other partners alongside a program for monitoring and evaluating compliance once a third party is on-boarded.

Anti-Bribery and Anti-Corruption Third-Party Compliance Solutions

With anti-bribery and anti-corruption legislation and enforcement growing, maintaining compliance is becoming more challenging, particularly when related to third parties. At Opus, we provide companies with the tools they need to manage their anti-bribery and anti-corruption third-party risk.

Using the Hiperos 3PM ABAC Accelerator, companies can automatically identify third parties that pose bribery and corruption risks, perform due diligence, monitor risk factors continuously and create auditable reports. Our goal is to help companies improve compliance while also making it less time-consuming and costly.

We’re proud to be part of the global movement fighting corruption and to raise awareness on how companies can use compliance and risk management as a way to combat the issue. To learn more about managing anti-bribery and anti-corruption risk, check out our webinar: Inside ISO 37001: Protect Your Organization from Bribery, featuring Leslie Benton from CREATE.org, one of the drafters of ISO 37001.

We hope you’ll join us in support of International Anti-Corruption Day, and continue the fight against bribery and corruption around the globe.

Lee Kirschbaum
Lee Kirschbaum
Senior Vice President, Product, Marketing, and Alliances

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