ICC’s New Rules Lead the Charge Against Corruption in Global Businesses

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has rolled out its new set of guidelines, the 2023 Rules on Combating Corruption, aiming to revolutionize how businesses handle integrity risks across the globe. This update, succeeding the 2011 edition, aligns with modern standards and evolving corporate practices. Developed under the leadership of the ICC Global Commission on Anti-corruption and Corporate Responsibility, these rules were officially introduced on December 11 during the UN Conference of the States Parties to UN Convention against Corruption (CoSP 10).

Key Changes in the 2023 ICC Rules on Combating Corruption

Viviane Schiavi, the ICC Global Policy Lead on Anti-corruption and Corporate Responsibility, sheds light on the enhancements and additions made in the latest rules. The primary alterations focus on.

  1. Empowering Reporting Mechanisms: Strengthening provisions supporting reporting mechanisms to unearth and prevent corrupt activities.
  2. Managing Third Parties: Heightened emphasis on engaging and managing third-party entities, often the weak links in supply chains.
  3. Promoting Responsible Business Conduct: Introducing a call for responsible business conduct, reflecting the growing expectation for enterprises to positively contribute to sustainable development and address adverse impacts related to their operations.

Steps for Businesses to Combat Corruption

To combat corruption effectively, businesses should take several critical steps:

  1. Establish Clear Prohibitions: Implement robust codes of conduct or company rules expressly forbidding corrupt practices in any form, whether direct or indirect.
  2. Construct Compliance Programs: Develop compliance programs tailored to the specific risks inherent in their business activities. These programs should identify, manage, and rectify integrity issues. They might include guidelines on political contributions, conflicts of interest, and more.

ICC’s Role in Global Anti-corruption Efforts

The ICC has been a pioneer in advocating for corporate compliance with self-imposed anti-corruption regulations. Starting with the issuance of the ICC Rules to Combat Extortion and Bribery in 1977, it has continually developed practical rules and guidelines aimed at fostering responsible business conduct globally. While recognizing the fundamental role of international organizations and governments in fighting corruption, the ICC stresses the need for a corruption-free ecosystem that promotes fair competition among all participants.

Impact of Updated Rules on Business Operations

These updated rules are poised to become a benchmark in corporate practices worldwide, offering a valuable tool for businesses, especially SMEs. They provide clear guidelines, particularly beneficial for smaller companies without dedicated legal departments, simplifying what considerations to address and what measures to implement.

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