By Matthias Thorns
Deputy Secretary General, OIE
Business at OECD and the OIE publish one of the first guides to help businesses take advantage of the links between the fight against corruption and respect for human rights.
The International Organization of Employers (IOE) and Business at OECD (BIAC) have just published the document entitled “Connecting the anti-corruption and human rights agendas: Guide for business and employers' organizations” (Connecting the fight against corruption and respect for human rights: a guide for businesses and employers' organizations).
Acts of corruption and human rights violations have many root causes in common, they often occur in regions plagued by governance problems, and they similarly threaten the reputation of companies, their financial stability, their operation and legal certainty.
The fight against corruption and human rights violations, however, often involves different actors, as well as different laws, regulatory considerations, standards and business practices. As a result, governments and businesses often adopt distinct - and often even siled - approaches, limiting the possibility of a common response to these daunting challenges for society.
The new guide from the OIE and Business at OECD aims to break down this silo and present companies with non-binding solutions on how to make links between human rights issues and the fight against corruption, while recognizing that there is no one-size-fits-all solution.
More specifically, this guide suggests avenues for companies to take advantage of existing synergies, implement a more coordinated approach to risk assessment, where appropriate, and encourage the sharing of experiences and information between anti-corruption actors and those working in the field of human rights, by drawing up a list of self-assessment questions.
It also provides an overview of the wide range of instruments and resources that exist in the areas of anti-corruption and respect for human rights. The guide gives examples of companies that have already taken a more coordinated approach to human rights and anti-corruption issues in their activities.
This joint publication by Business at OECD and the OIE complements recent work in this area, including the report of the United Nations working group on human rights and business to the Council. of Human Rights, published in July 2020.
Business at OECD and the OIE will regularly update the document to reflect policy developments and lessons learned by businesses in managing risks related to corruption and human rights violations.