Press release 20th Nov 2020

UK companies can kick start investor confidence by becoming leaders in responsible business

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November 20 - UK companies should capitalise on the opportunity to become global leaders in business integrity and responsible business as the world seeks to build back better, according to the UK’s leading anti-corruption group and the world’s biggest business organisation. 

Transparency International UK (TI-UK) and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) are calling on companies in Britain to raise standards in three key areas to gain a strategic advantage and to help achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

In a joint letter published today, Daniel Bruce, Chief Executive of TI-UK, and Chris Southworth, Secretary General of the ICC, set out how companies can kick start investor confidence by:

  • Acting with integrity in global value chains

Many businesses have been forced to adapt during the pandemic and change their operations, suppliers and business partners. This poses increased risks of bribery and corruption. Businesses across sectors and sizes should work to mitigate their changing risks by understanding who they are doing business with and how business is being done in the current environment.

  • Increasing transparency in procurement

Governments across the globe have increased their spending in order to contend with the pandemic. Businesses responding to government tenders, especially those in the healthcare sector, should be as transparent as possible with their contracting and contract fulfilment operations to allow third parties to detect corruption red flags more easily and will create a more even playing field for businesses who act with integrity.

  • Practising transparent political engagement

Companies should seek to be ethical and transparent with their political lobbying practices in order to build consumer confidence in their business. By putting clear governance structures in place surrounding political engagement (e.g. board approval of all political activities) and disclosing this governance to their investors and consumers, businesses can mitigate reputational risks related to political engagement.

 

Daniel Bruce, Chief Executive of Transparency International UK, said:

“Businesses in the UK generate billions in turnover every year, with operations ranging in size from micro businesses to large multi-national enterprises. As a key player in the global economy with an independent voice at the World Trade Organization, the UK is well equipped to lead the integrity agenda, not only because of its progressive anti-bribery legislation, but also because many UK businesses now recognise the strategic advantage responsible business conduct offers to the country’s dynamic economy.

“Our research has shown how companies with effective and transparent anti-corruption programmes are more likely to win the confidence of potential investors - essential for businesses at this critical time of the investment cycle. UK businesses should demonstrate active and repeated top-level commitment to corruption prevention, disclose their bribery and corruption policies, use anti-corruption clauses in their contracts, and explain how they mitigate corruption risks of third parties acting for or on behalf of their company. This type of disclosure allows for businesses to have confidence in their business partners, knowing that certain risks are actively being mitigated and managed.”

 

Notes to editors

Research by Transparency International UK 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.