Today is International Anti-Corruption Day, aimed at raising awareness of global corruption and how companies, governments and individuals are combating the issue.
The 9th of December was designated as International Anti-Corruption Day in 2003 by the UN General Assembly when it adopted the United Nations Convention against Corruption.
The theme of the day this year is 'break the chain of corruption,' a fitting theme that describes the social, political and economic complexity of corruption.
International Anti-Corruption Day is also a great opportunity to see how other key organisations are highlighting developments in the fight against global corruption.
Transparency International has recently released the 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index which, now in its 20th year, ranks countries by perceived level of public sector corruption and bribery. The Corruption Perceptions Index is a globally-recognised tool for fighting corruption and can be a key component in many companies' ABC risk assessment processes. The Index is often used to measure which countries require more in depth due diligence checks on third-parties, customers and potential business partners.
More than two thirds of the 175 countries in the 2014 Index scored below 50, on a scale from 0 (perceived to be highly corrupt) to 100 (perceived to be very clean). Denmark was deemed to be the leader in ABC with a score of 92. At the other end of the scale North Korea and Somalia scored 8.
The results of the 2014 Index demonstrate the significant impact public sector corruption is having on emerging economies. These economies are far more susceptible to corrupt practices, which on a large scale can deny basic human rights, create governance problems and lead to social and political instability. Crucially, emerging markets cannot have clean, sustainable economic growth unless this growth is free of corruption.
The focus on ABC this month has also seen the release of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Foreign Bribery Report, an analysis of the crime of bribery of foreign public officials. The report measures transactional corruption based on data from more than 400 deals since 1999. The data shows the average bribe over this time as almost £8.9m, typically representing 11% of transactional value.
The OECD report found that bribery usually occurred to win contracts from state-owned or controlled companies in the west, rather than in emerging economies. More surprising, most of the individuals paying and receiving bribes were from wealthy countries.International Anti-Corruption Day can be a powerful platform for companies and individuals to influence governments around the world with a strong focus on the need to strengthen sanctions, make settlements public and reinforce whistleblower protection.