For the second consecutive year, ETHIC Intelligence is gathering professionals and international experts in the field of anti-corruption compliance to discuss recent developments across the globe on this important issue. Join us at the OECD Conference Center in Paris on September 11, 2017!
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Beyond guidelines: 20 years of dialogue
When, as a member of the OECD Secretary General’s cabinet in the 1990s, I was privileged to participate in the negotiations which led to the Anti-Bribery Convention of 1997, I had no idea that the dozen or so pages of the Convention would have such a profound impact not only on international business practices, but also on the way civil society views the relevant players in international business and global politics.
The numbers alone are impressive. Following the Convention hundreds of companies were sanctioned for corruption and received very heavy fines. Dozens of individuals – including executives – were convicted and sentenced to prison. That is not what is important, however.
In my opinion, what is important is the fact that public opinion no longer tolerates corruption at any level and most companies now demonstrate zero tolerance for corrupt business practices.
It is easy to condemn and forbid corruption. It is much more difficult to ensure that this crime – hidden by necessity – is not committed. It is essential that we reflect collectively on the subject to identify best practices to prevent and detect corruption and then enshrine these recommendations into guidelines for dissemination to as many stakeholders as possible.
The publication of guidelines has increased over the past 20 years and they have originated with international organizations, national authorities, professional associations and most recently with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
But more important than the publication of these guidelines is the dialogue undertaken by governments, companies and civil society all of whom contribute to their creation. It is essential that this dialogue continue even after the publication of the guidelines. Why? Because the time when corruption was represented by a suitcase full of bank notes is over. Because corruption is a crime committed by intelligent people. Because, year after year, corruption becomes more complex and obscure.
It is my ambition for this second annual international conference on standards & guidelines to continue this ongoing dialogue between the citizens that we are – civil servants, business professionals, politicians, taxpayers – in order to contribute to the effective eradication of corruption.
President, ETHIC Intelligence