UNODC and the UN Global Compact call for greater private sector action to strengthen business integrity and fight against corruption

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime and the UN Global Compact reinforced their commitment to strengthen business integrity by co-organizing the first Private Sector Forum at the Conference of the States Parties to the UN Convention against Corruption

Atlanta, GA, United States of America, Dec. 12, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the United Nations Global Compact called for greater private sector action to strengthen governance and anti-corruption efforts during the tenth session of the Conference of the States Parties (CoSP) today.

CoSP is the largest global anti-corruption gathering and the main policymaking body of the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC). This is the first year the event has included a Private Sector Forum to advance the global business integrity agenda by taking stock of achievements and challenges in implementing UNCAC and the Tenth Principle of the UN Global Compact.

Corruption is one of the greatest obstacles to economic and social development around the world, and has considerable and costly impacts on the private sector. 

Corruption raises transaction costs, undermines fair competition, distorts development priorities, impedes long-term foreign and domestic investment and has a corrosive effect on social solidarity.

The Tenth Principle of the UN Global Compact, underpinned by the UNCAC, was adopted in 2004 and commits participants of the UN Global Compact not only to avoid bribery, extortion and other forms of corruption, but to proactively develop policies and concrete programmes to address corruption internally and within their supply chains. Companies are also challenged to work collectively and join civil society, the UN and Governments to realize a more transparent global economy. 

During CoSP, the UN Global Compact presented a Call-to-Action signed by more than 500 companies across the globe urging Governments to underscore anti-corruption and good governance as fundamental pillars of a sustainable and inclusive global economy and embrace them as important tenets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 

At the Private Sector Forum, more than 200 participants, including business leaders, chief compliance and legal officers, sustainability, governance and business integrity experts, as well as key stakeholders from the public sector, civil society, academia and international organizations, explored how to commit to business integrity and how that commitment can be assessed by investors, customers and regulators through corporate sustainability reporting. Discussions also centered on addressing challenges posed by corruption in international investment and foreign direct investment, the role of gatekeepers in the global financial system, and realigning companies after corruption scandals. 

Overall, the Private Sector Forum contributed to identifying emerging trends, showcasing good practices and highlighting key priorities to enhance corporate governance and tackle corruption in the private sector. 

“Fair business practices make it easier for companies to win the trust of investors and consumers. We know that responsible companies are more resilient, contributing to longer-term economic growth and jobs creation,” said UNODC Executive Director Ghada Waly. “To make significant progress, companies must address business integrity throughout their operations and supply chains, and in all their interactions with Governments as well as with business partners.”

Speaking about the importance of the private sector in addressing corruption, Sanda Ojiambo, CEO and Executive Director of the UN Global Compact said: “The enormous, ongoing fight against corruption requires targeted, sustained and collective action. At this Private Sector Forum, business leaders and many diverse stakeholders have considered the dangers that corruption presents for companies, economies, and the entire global community. Together, we must champion ethical business practices throughout business operations, including through partners and supply chains, and in the communities we serve. We must remain united against corruption.” 

Practical tools were released during the Private Sector Forum to guide business action on integrity:

About the UN Office on Drugs and Crime

UNODC has been delivering projects on business integrity since 2011 and is currently providing support to companies in line with UNCAC. More information is available on the UNODC Business Integrity Portal

About the UN Global Compact

As a special initiative of the United Nations Secretary-General, the UN Global Compact is a call to companies worldwide to align their operations and strategies with Ten Principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. UNCAC is the underlying instrument of the Tenth Principle of the UN Global Compact, committing businesses to work against corruption in all its forms. With more than 18,000 companies and 3,800 non-business signatories based in over 101 countries, and 62 Local Networks, the UN Global Compact is the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative — one Global Compact uniting business for a better world.


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