(London) – A coalition of investors has written to 21 major companies in 14 countries asking them to improve their disclosure of bribery and corruption risks and avoidance measures.
The investors have asked companies from eight sectors, including defense, construction and capital goods, to explain whether their anti-corruption management systems adhere to international reporting frameworks developed by the International Corporate Governance Network (ICGN) and UN Global Compact.
The investors behind this effort manage over US$1.6 trillion of assets in nine countries and are all signatories to the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment (www.unpri.org). They include F&C Asset Management, Hermes EOS and APG.
George Dallas, Director of Corporate Governance at F&C Management said, “As investors we believe that bribery and corruption are incompatible with good corporate governance and harmful to the creation of value. Therefore we expect the companies that we invest in to have robust programmes to manage corruption in their firm and supply chains, and to ensure those programmes measure up to respected international standards. The absence of such a programme or the failure to regularly monitor the management of these risks has the potential to create financial, operational and reputational risks.”
James Gifford, Executive Director of the Principles for Responsible Investment said, “This collaboration among mainstream investors demonstrates the strong business case for fighting corruption. Corruption increases costs, risks a firm’s reputation and can inhibit economic development. The consequences of corruption are also felt acutely by the people of developing countries who miss out on vital development capital. We need markets to hold businesses to account for corruption and that needs collective action by global investors”.
Gavin Power, Deputy Director of the UN Global Compact added, “The UN Global Compact’s reporting framework gives guidance on how companies should report on anti-corruption activities and we welcome the proactive role these investors are taking to help encourage the wide use of that guidance”.