of global organisations report being victims of bribery & corruption
estimated cost paid each year in bribes globally. US $2.6T is also lost to corruption
the number of people alive today. Over 6B live in countries where corruption is endemic
the price Rolls-Royce agreed to pay to settle bribery allegations
Bribery and corruption – often defined as abuses of power by people in positions of authority – are not new. In fact, they’ve been with us ever since humans began to organise into recognisable societies. And they’re certainly still going strong: it’s estimated that more than US$1 trillion is paid each year in bribes globally, and that US$2.6 trillion is lost to corruption. That’s 5% of global GDP – and the true figure is probably even higher.
Given the profound harm that corruption inflicts on both citizens and societies, we believe that tackling it ranks as perhaps the biggest single challenge for all of us. Dealing with it demands action that goes way beyond developing a compliance programme and including a line item on a risk register.
Let us look at how the world can rise to this challenge. It’s down to all of us to work together to make this happen.
The time is right, and the need is imperative, for business leaders to harness the power of their workforces – who themselves want to make the world a better place – to drive forward a business culture that has zero tolerance for corrupt practice. For organisations, this culture needs to shape everyday decisions and behaviour by all their people in every country, supported and enabled by the right technologies. Not all businesses will achieve this in five years. But those that succeed in doing so will be well-placed to win the battle for revenues, customers, talent and public trust. The opposite is equally true.
In closing, a thought on the ultimate victims of corruption. As we continue to debate the most appropriate anti-corruption programmes, and the need for a level playing field for business to compete on, let’s not forget the consequences if we get this wrong – and indeed the implications for the billions of people who’ll suffer those consequences every day of their lives.
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