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PARIS/NEW YORK: December 07, 2018. A survey by EcoVadis, the provider of business sustainability ratings, says most organizations are taking a reactive, unstructured approach to fighting corruption risks.

EcoVadis defines corruption as any kind of abuse of entrusted power in the workplace for private gain, taking the form of bribery, conflict of interest, fraud and/or money laundering.

The latest report is based on more than 20,000 company assessments conducted between January 2017 and June 2018 in 100 countries and across 150 industries. Companies were rated on a scale of zero to 100, with scores below 45 representing medium to high risk, and scores below 25 indicating very high risk.

Nambia sign World BankThe finance and insurance (49.9) sectors lead in best practices adoption (49.9), while power transmission and generation had the highest average industry score (50.2) followed by information and communication technology (47.7), real estate (47.7) and legal and consulting (46.4).

Wholesale, transportation and storage, construction and the light and heavy manufacturing sectors all scored below the world’s average (42.2), suggesting they are at high risk for corruption, bribery and fraud according to the study.

EcoVadis suggests North American and European companies lead the world in business ethics with 56 percent and 51 percent respectively having a formal policy on corruption.

“While most companies formalize anti-corruption policies through a code of conduct, few are taking the next step and implementing internal control measures,” noted EcoVadis CEO Pierre-Francois Thaler. “Written frameworks are a great starting point, but they are not sufficient for mitigating all corruption risks, which can wreak havoc on companies’ bottom lines and reputations if not addressed,”

The timing of the study coincides with new US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act policies and expansion of Sapin II in France, which requires companies with more than 500 employees and €100 million in annual turnover to implement anti-corruption programmes.

According to the UN, corruption costs US$2.6 trillion annually, money that is urgently needed for healthcare, education, clean water, infrastructure, and other essential services.

Marking International Anti-Corruption Day on December 09, UN secretary general António Guterres commented: "Through the Convention Against Corruption peer review mechanism, we can work together to build a foundation of trust and accountability. We can educate and empower citizens, promote transparency and strengthen international cooperation to recover stolen assets."

(Pictured: anti-corruption sign in Nambia courtesy of WorldBank/Philip Schuler.)

 

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