Corruption takes 12% of world economic output

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Pearl Initiative – 12 percent of world economic output lost to corruption.

World Bank – Estimated losses total between $1-4 trillion dollars worldwide.

Corruption Perceptions Index 2012
Corruption Perceptions Index 2012  (Click on the image to enlarge)

At the recent Pearl Initiative’s Good Corporate Practices round-table, it was agreed by regional business leaders that anti-bribery and anti-corruption policies are key to lowering economic losses. Major efforts underway to minimize bribery and corruption should focus on improving transparency, accountability and corporate governance.

According to the World Bank, the estimated global losses on an annual basis due to corruption, amount to between ‘one and four trillion U.S. Dollars’ — or 12 percent of the world’s gross economic output.

To combat the evident threat, the roundtable focused on highlighting the major issues:

  • There is a need for organisations to embed values and the fight against unethical behaviour, throughout a company’s culture and codes of conduct in the short term, to facilitate benefits in the long term. Installing policies and processes that facilitate transparency will contribute to higher ratings and enable potential foreign investors to understand how the company operates, and perhaps facilitate their decision.

  • Preventing corruption in the future should be made a priority for the business community. This can be achieved by teaching university students the importance of good corporate governance so the ethos of good corporate practice is carried through their careers as they become the business leaders of the future.

  • Reputation and trust should be the key components to any successful company. As discussed, high-profile corruption and fraud cases have shown over and above fines and damage done by unforeseen rogue incidents, the loss to reputation and business profitability can be devastating. Implementing and enforcing the right systems throughout a company and value chain, minimises the risk of a one-off incident.

  • As a stakeholder, being aware that the company you are dealing with has a zero tolerance approach to bribery and corruption provides a level of confidence that can directly translate into improved reputation and long-term market share gains.

  • Assembling concise Anti-Bribery and Anti-Corruption policies within the organisation’s Code of Conduct is a simple way of communicating expected behaviour.

Imelda Dunlop; “At the Pearl Initiative, we are proud to be a conduit for best practise and events such as these, that bring together the business community, are invaluable in sharing ideas, experiences and good practises. Despite coming from entirely different sectors, our speakers agreed that there is a clear business case for the implementation of Anti-Bribery and Corruption policies and that all organisations across the MENA region should be looking at their processes very carefully. Many regional family firms have been built on the basis of strong integrity and values – now is the time to translate these values into rigorous processes that protect reputation, minimise risk and enable more business to be won in international markets.” — Imelda Dunlop, Executive Director, Pearl Initiative

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