The United Nations has designated December 9 as Anti-Corruption Day, in an effort to draw attention to how corporate as well as governmental corruption contributes to global instability. Led by the UN’s Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and Development Programme (UNDP), Anti-Corruption Day gives us all a chance to review our compliance initiatives in regards to anti-bribery/anti-corruption, both domestically and internationally.
The organizations I have been working with are committed to scrutinizing their programs to fight unethical, corrupt behavior. Looking outward, they see a renewed focus on the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the UK Bribery Act, including tidbits like the new “SFO CONFIDENTIAL” reporting service set up by the UK’s Serious Fraud Office in early November. They see companies like Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and the UK’s Willis Limited hit with massive penalties for violations of anti-corruption laws. Looking inward, these companies know that managing risk via a strong compliance program is the best way to avoid the nasty repercussions from fraudulent activity.
Another newsworthy item of note: The British Standards Institute (BSI) just recently released a new compliance standard, BS 10500:2011 – Specification for an anti-bribery management system, intended to help companies prove to both internal and external stakeholders that appropriate procedures are in place to prevent bribery. The standard follows established principles and structure of ISO9001.
Back to the UN: check out the UN’s “Against Corruption Today” website at www.yournocounts.org. I especially like the message from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, which is right on target. In part he says, “Corruption distorts markets, increases costs for companies and ultimately punishes consumers. Companies can create a more transparent global economy through anti-corruption initiatives….”
I wholeheartedly endorse the UN’s anti-corruption efforts, and I hope others will get behind this initiative and the principles for which it stands. Corruption and bribery are unethical and do way more harm than good – and we all can do something about it.