This Study therefore looks at why companies adopt anti-corruption compliance mechanisms, with an eye towards encouraging more companies (including small- and medium-sized enterprises) to adopt such measures.
The new OECD Study on « Corporate Anti-Corruption Compliance Drivers, Mechanisms, and Ideas for Change » was launched during a webinar on 23 September 2020. Informed by this Study, the webinar focused on the various factors that have driven companies to design systems to prevent, detect, and respond to the risk of corruption, such as legal and regulatory requirements, and enforcement and reputational risks. Panellists discussed some of the main challenges faced by companies looking to implement anti-corruption programmes, and explored potential solutions, including ways for governments, international organisations, and civil society to better support and accompany companies in their anti-corruption efforts.
Anti-corruption compliance was a topic of interest in a limited number of countries ten years ago, but the past decade has seen the emergence of anti-corruption compliance systems in companies across the globe. Various factors have driven private sector companies to design systems to prevent, detect, and respond to the risk of corruption. These factors include legal and regulatory requirements, enforcement and reputational risks, and company changes warranting a closer look at transactional risk.
In 2010, the OECD Working Group on Bribery, which brings together the 44 Parties to the OECD Anti- Bribery Convention, adopted the Good Practice Guidance on Internal Controls, Ethics, and Compliance as part of the 2009 Anti-Bribery Recommendation. The Guidance sets out fundamental elements that should be included in companies’ anti-bribery compliance programmes in order to effectively prevent and detect bribery. Since the adoption of the Good Practice Guidance ten years ago, compliance has taken an increasingly important role in corporate liability regimes, through the adoption of legislation requiring the establishment of compliance models and requirements from law enforcement or the judiciary. Several countries have developed their own compliance models, sometimes going beyond the standards of the Good Practice Guidance. Concomitantly, a growing number of private sector companies have adopted anti-corruption compliance systems and in 2016, the adoption of ISO Standard 37001 marked the emergence of global anti-corruption compliance standards.
This study forms part of a three-part project on corporate anti-corruption measures to support sustainable business. This project supports the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). SDG 16 specifically deals with “Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions,” and target 16.5 of this goal is “Substantially reduce corruption and bribery in all their forms.” In particular, the target seeks to decrease the “[p]roportion of businesses that had at least one contact with a public official and that paid a bribe to a public official, or were asked for a bribe by those public officials during the previous 12 months.” This target and indicator recognise that the private sector is a primary actor in the supply side of corruption. More effective anti-corruption compliance programmes and policies will help cut off the supply of bribes, strengthen developing countries’ institutions, and promote their sustainable development.
This project component looks at why companies adopt anti-corruption compliance mechanisms, with an eye towards encouraging more companies (including small- and medium-sized enterprises) to adopt such measures. In addition to desk research, this study relies on results of the OECD Survey on Drivers and Models of Corporate Anti-Corruption Compliance, which were collected from business personnel from 12 November to 12 December 2019, as well as interviews with personnel from 15 international firms.
This study informs policy-making on how to incentivise anti-corruption compliance, supports the private sector (including small- and medium-sized enterprises) in the adoption of compliance systems, and provides insights for the current review of the Good Practice Guidance in Annex II to the 2009 Anti-Bribery Recommendation. We also hope that it can form a useful tool for international firms in assessing their anti- corruption mechanisms and identifying best practices for their compliance systems.