Business ethics – anti-corruption and responsible businesses – is one of the Council on Ethics four focus areas. The reason is simple – corruption undermines good governance, ethical businesses and society at large – but solving the problem is all the more complex. Work to tackle corruption is and will continue to be a sustainability issue for the Council to pursue.
From 2019 annual report
The Council dialogues with a large number of companies and in principle, all proactive dialogues include the issue of anti-corruption. Different forms of corruption are a common risk for most companies. Corruption distorts competition and can deplete a company’s assets. It is important that companies work actively to reduce the risk of corruption in their business.
Corruption is widespread in many countries and industries and it is very harmful for societies. It undermines people’s trust in political and economic systems, institutions and public officials, civils servants and political leaders.
Anti-corruption work is a challenge both for companies and the communities in which they operate, because corruption by its very nature often happens in the hidden and is difficult to detect and prevent.
The Council’s involvement in the work against corruption aims at getting companies to strengthen their work against corruption. Some methods that can be used to reduce and prevent corruption are increased transparency, whistleblower mechanisms and improved compliance work in the companies.
The Council focused on money laundering during 2019
On the theme of financial crime and money laundering, the Council gathered the four major banks in Sweden; SEB, Swedbank, Handelsbanken and Nordea, all relevant insittutions and Transparancy International Sweden to a fully booked seminar . The discussions was intense and everyone agreed that cooperation will be one of the most important elements in achieving success on ths complicated matter. The Council intends to continue ots engagement on the issue during 2020.
Assessing companies’ anti-corruption work
One point of departure that one can use when assessing companies’ anti-corruption work is to look for indicators such as:
- Code of Conduct for all employees and board members
- Code of Conduct for suppliers
- Code of Conduct for agents
- Statement on zero tolerance to corruption
- Employees’ ability to report confidentially
- Prohibition of retaliation during reporting
- Requirements for rules for gifts, hospitality, travel
- Training programs in place
- Support for senior executives
- Regular review of the work against corruption
- Reporting of political contributions
- Ban on facilitation payments
Topic: Business ethics