Companies challenged to rethink anti-corruption disclosures

By agency reporter
March 17, 2020

Companies are being challenged to fundamentally rethink the way they disclose details of their work to combat corruption in new research published by Transparency International UK.

Open Business sets a new standard for disclosures in anti-corruption and governance and provides an aspirational but achievable roadmap to better corporate practice.

By demonstrating the value of harnessing transparency in these areas, Open Business shows how companies can embrace transparency to reduce corruption risk while also building consumer and public trust, protecting and building their reputation and gaining a competitive advantage.

Informed by extensive research including in-depth interviews with legal and compliance figures from FTSE 100 companies, insight from some of the world’s biggest institutional investors, and Transparency International’s own anti-corruption expertise, this groundbreaking research:

  • Sets out the business case for greater corporate transparency
  • Fills the current ‘guidance gap’ by providing companies consolidated guidance on how to disclose policies and procedures publicly
  • Offers solutions to the most frequently cited legal challenges to greater disclosures

Sophie Ogilvy, Director of Transparency International UK’s Business Integrity Programme, said: “Whether it is by consumers, investors or other businesses, companies are being tasked to disclose more about how they goes about their business. This transparency revolution has already been embraced by companies around some social and environmental issues, but meaningful corporate disclosures around governance and anti-corruption are limited. Given the corrosive effect of corruption on sustainable development, public trust and long-term economic prosperity, it is no longer enough for companies simply to imply that they are doing the right thing; they need to demonstrate how they are doing the right thing, too.

“We are calling on companies to embrace transparency and fundamentally rethink the way they disclose details of the ways in which they work to combat corruption. By providing aspirational and practical guidance for better corporate practice, Open Business will help to drive up standards across the business community and level the playing field both domestically and internationally. Given the clear business case for greater transparency, the question that companies need to start asking themselves is not ‘why disclose?’ but rather ‘why not disclose?’.”

Open Business calls on companies to increase meaningful disclosures of:

  • their anti-corruption programmes, particularly with reference to the frameworks behind, and implementation of, their policies and procedures
  • beneficial ownership and publicly advocate for governments to adopt data standards on beneficial ownership transparency
  • all fully consolidated subsidiaries and non-fully consolidated holdings, and state publicly that they will not work with businesses which operate with deliberately opaque structures
  • the nature of work, their countries of operation and the countries of incorporation of their fully consolidated subsidiaries and non-fully consolidated holdings; and publicly disclose country-by-country breakdowns of their payments to government
  • their corporate political engagement, including around their control environment, political contributions, lobbying and on the revolving door

Open Business is avaliable to download here

* Transparency International UK https://www.transparency.org.uk/

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