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Twenty-five years ago, the United Nations General Assembly declared October 17th International Day for the Eradication of Poverty . In marking the anniversary, the UN has stated that … “all people must come together to end poverty and discrimination in order to build a sustainable future in which the needs of the present are met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” What role do companies play in ending poverty? Many organizations pursue Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives that help to address poverty. Keeping forced labor out of supply chains, for example, penalizes unscrupulous actors who keep workers impoverished by withholding earnings for recruitment fees or overcharging for housing. But having a robust anti-bribery and corruption compliance program is also critical. Why?
World Bank calls corruption a barrier to eradicating poverty
The estimated global cost of corruption falls between $1.5 to $2 trillion. What’s more, countries with the highest poverty rates also face the highest corruption risk. This connection between corruption and poverty is highlighted in the World Bank’s Combating Corruption Brief, which states, “The World Bank Group considers corruption a major challenge to its twin goals of ending extreme poverty by 2030 and boosting shared prosperity for the poorest 40 percent of people in developing countries.” The organization cites several links:
In a recent Harvard Business Review article, former chairman of Microsoft India Ravi Venkatesan also notes the business value of mitigating corruption risk, “Business needs to play a more powerful role in supporting responsible practices throughout every aspect of their operations. After all, those that find themselves embroiled in bribery scandals, for example, face a host of consequences, including business disruption, steep financial and legal costs, and harm to their brand and reputation.” Establishing a solid anti-bribery and corruption compliance program, enables companies to de-fund the unethical practices that contribute to poverty, while also addressing corporate regulatory, financial and reputational risks.
How can the ISO 37001 anti-bribery framework help?
Certification to an anti-bribery standard like ISO 37001 can benefit companies by validating a company’s internal processes against best practices. Venkatesan and co-author Leslie Benton, VP of the Center for Responsible Enterprise And Trade (CREATE.org) and member of the U.S. Technical Advisory Group to the ISO 37001 development committee, say, “The standard offers companies a structure for setting up or benchmarking an effective anti-bribery program aligned with its own risk profile, and building a culture that values ethical behavior.” ISO 37001 certification helps by:
But in addition to realizing these benefits, adopting a robust anti-bribery and corruption compliance program empowers companies to make a difference in eradicating global poverty—and that’s what today is all about.
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