Corruption is now recognized to be one of the world's greatest challenges. It is a major hindrance to sustainable development, with a disproportionate impact on poor communities and is corrosive on the very fabric of society. The impact on the private sector is also considerable - it impedes economic growth, distorts competition and represents serious legal and reputational risks. Corruption is also very costly for business, with the extra financial burden estimated to add 10% or more to the costs of doing business in many parts of the world. The World Bank has stated that "bribery has become a $1 trillion industry."
The rapid development of rules of corporate governance around the world is also prompting companies to focus on anti-corruption measures as part of their mechanisms to protect their reputations and the interests of their shareholders. Their internal controls are increasingly being extended to a range of ethics and integrity issues and a growing number of investment managers are looking to these controls as evidence that the companies undertake good business practice and are well managed.
The international legal fight against corruption has gained momentum in more recent times through the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions and through the entering into force of the first globally agreed instrument, the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) in December 2005.
There are a number of very different reasons for why businesses should combat corruption in all its forms.
The ethical case
Corruption is inherently wrong. It is a misuse of power and position and has a disproportionate impact on the poor and disadvantaged. It undermines the integrity of all involved and damages the fabric of the organizations to..