At this year’s B20 Summit, held last week in Sydney, 400 business leaders laid out a blueprint to promote global economic growth and employment outcomes and make the global economy more resilient to deal with future shocks.
The B20 is a forum for the business community of the G20 countries to convey their policy recommendations to the leaders of the G20 governments. The G20 Summit will take place in Brisbane in November 2014, hosted by the Australian Government.
Included in the final report were recommendations on the topic of anti-corruption, which has been high on the G20 agenda for the last few years.
Following the Summit, the leaders of the B20 Anti-Corruption Working Group, Michael Andrew, former Global Chairman of KPMG, Giuseppe Recchi. Chairman of Telecom Italia and the author, CEO of IBLF Global, an NGO promoting responsible business through Collective Action explained the B20 recommendations.
While enforcement of anti-corruption legislation has been more effective in recent years, the “stick” approach is not sufficient. Instead of focusing corporate behavior on a defensive, box-ticking, risk-avoidance approach, we’d like to see the governments incentivising companies to promote a widespread culture of compliance throughout their markets.
Some steps to be taken include: Incentivizing self-reporting, creating a single set of guiding principles adopted by all G20 governments, issuing “credits” for companies which have in place “adequate procedures” in the form of anti-corruption policies and compliance programs, and debarring companies that have a poor track record or which are unable to demonstrate a systemic commitment to compliance.
Each G20 country should also establish a High Level Reporting Mechanism as a channel of last resort for reporting violations. And in the financial sector, we advocate the consistent application of new rules around beneficial ownership in G20 countries.
The Working Group proposes a different approach to how business and governments work together on combating corruption. Like any business, the companies are looking for a return on their investment into compliance. The return on investment in this case is real, tangible results in encouraging adherence to better business standards throughout the economies of the G20, with the goal of making our companies — and societies — more resistant to corruption, more competitive and ultimately more able to focus on growth.
Brook Horowitz is CEO of IBLF Global and a member of the IBLF Global board. A graduate of Cambridge and Harvard Universities, he’s a contributor of opinion pieces on raising business standards to the Financial Times, International Herald Tribune, Moscow Times and others. He can be contacted here.