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World Bank Institute Coalition Launches Business Guide on Fighting Corruption

(New York, 19 June 2008) - A coalition of businesses, NGOs and international organisations led by the World Bank Institute (WBI) has produced a practical business-oriented collective action guide and web portal.

Recent research shows that global corruption can add as much as 20% - 25% to the costs of public procurement but many companies are still faced with the dilemma of either paying bribes to win business or withdrawing from high-risk markets.*  However, practical help is now at hand.

The World Bank Institute today released " Fighting Corruption through Collective Action - A Guide for Business." Created to help companies fight back against the insidious impacts of corruption,  the Guide, and its companion web portal, outlines proven methods to fight marketplace corruption through Collective Action between business and other stakeholders.

Organised by the World Bank Institute, the coalition is made up of NGOs and multilateral organisations including Grant Thornton member firms in Canada, UK and USA, Siemens, United Nations Global Compact, Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), Transparency International and Global Advice Network.

"The purpose of this guide is to establish a level playing field and assist firms who would otherwise have to abandon doing business in a corrupt environment", says Djordjija Petkoski, Programme Leader, WBI. "It should become a staple component of a company's approach to promoting ethics and to managing the risk of fraud and corruption. Equally, the guide should also be of interest to enlightened governments and other organisations which share the goals of eliminating corruption from business dealings."

"Companies are rightly concerned about the costly damage to their brand and reputation if they become associated with bribery and other forms of corruption. This guide will prove invaluable to business and compliance managers and not just in multinational companies but small and medium sized enterprises as well," says Sterl Greenhalgh, Head of Corporate Fraud Investigations at Grant Thornton UK and one of the members of the collective action guide working group.

Collective Action in practise

This toolkit and interactive web portal provide multiple options to combat corporate corruption based on proven “how-to” examples from many regions and sectors. Cases from Ecuador, Germany, Mexico, Pakistan and other countries are detailed in the guide. 

The guide and web portal will be launched at the ICC - Commercial Crime Services annual seminar in London today. Through the portal, the World Bank Institute-led group will continue to support and report upon the use of collective action going forward.

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For press enquiries contact:

Suvra Datta
Grant Thornton UK press office
+44 207 728 2375
Email: suvra.datta@gtuk.com

Olajobi Makinwa
UN Global Compact Office
makinwa@un.org

Please visit Transparency International for further detail on the costs of corruption in public contracting: www.transparency.org/global_priorities/public_contracting

To view details on core working group partners of the Guide and to consult the "Fighting Corruption Through Collective Action - A practical guide for Business" please visit www.fightingcorruption.org

The following partners were involved in compiling the guide and web portal:

The World Bank Institute
The World Bank Institute (WBI) is the capacity building arm of the World Bank Group. Combining participatory action-oriented learning, technical assistance, and the power of data, WBI, in collaboration with other units in the World Bank Group, supports countries in improving governance and controlling corruption. With regards to the private sector, WBI facilitates the growing efforts of companies and business associations to integrate anti-corruption measures into their corporate governance and strategy, and engage more actively in the fight against corruption both as advocates for good governance and through Collective approaches.

The United Nations Global Compact
Launched in 2000, the UN Global Compact brings business together with UN agencies, labor, civil society and governments to advance ten universal principles in the areas of human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption. Through the power of collective action, the Global Compact seeks to mainstream these ten principles in business activities around the world and to catalyze actions in support of broader UN goals. With over 3,600 participating companies and hundreds of other stakeholders from more than 20 countries, it is the world’s largest voluntary corporate citizenship initiative.

CIPE
The Center for International Private Enterprise is a non-profit affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and one of the four core institutes of the National Endowment for Democracy. CIPE has supported more than 1,000 local initiatives in over 100 developing countries, involving the private sector in policy advocacy and institutional reform, improving governance, and building understanding of market-based democratic systems. CIPE provides management assistance, practical experience, and financial support to local organizations to strengthen their capacity to implement democratic and economic reforms.

Transparency International
Transparency International (TI) is the global civil society organization working to combat corruption and increase accountability in government and international business.  With national chapters in more than 90 countries, TI is widely recognized for its unique global reach, high-level engagement with policymakers and the private sector, practical tools and surveys, and extensive experience and credibility in combating corruption and promoting transparency

Global Advice Network
Global Advice Network is an international consultancy based in Copenhagen, Denmark. Global Advice Network is specialized in advising on environmental and corruption issues. Global Advice Network is the initiator and developer of the  www.Business-Anti-Corruption.com portal, a web-based tool which combines in depth country analysis with generic tools for due diligence and integrity systems.

Grant Thornton Canada, United Kingdom and United States are all member firms of Grant Thornton International Ltd
(Grant Thornton International) which strives to speak out on issues that matter to business and which are in the wider public interest. Grant Thornton International is one of the world's leading organisations of independently owned and managed accounting and consulting firms. These firms provide assurance, tax and specialist advisory services to privately held businesses and public interest entities. Clients of member and correspondent firms can access the knowledge and experience of more than 2,400 partners in over 100 countries. Grant Thornton International and the member firms are not a worldwide partnership. Services are delivered independently by the member firms.

Siemens AG
Siemens AG is a global powerhouse in electronics and electrical engineering, operating in the industry, energy and healthcare sectors. The company has around 400,000 employees working to develop and manufacture products, design and install complex systems and projects, and tailor a wide range of solutions for individual requirements. For over 160 years, Siemens has stood for technical achievements, innovation, quality, reliability and internationality. In fiscal 2007, Siemens had revenue of €72.4 billion and income from continuing operations of €3.9 billion (IFRS).

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