The very real cost of bribery and corruption
The prevention of bribery and corruption is becoming an increasing priority for companies with the estimated cost paid each year in bribes globally reaching more than $1 trillion. However, financial impact is not the only price to pay as a result of bribery and corruption. The true cost is far more significant. We’ll be looking at the wider implications for global companies and why anti-bribery training is an important part of the answer.
1. There’s a cost beyond the fines
If fines running into the millions aren’t enough of a deterrent there’s also the loss of sales, damage to the share price and a hit to stakeholder confidence. The legal costs of an investigation can often be as painful and punitive as the fines themselves and while you’re busy firefighting your focus isn’t where it belongs, on your business.
2. Your reputation could be at stake
You’ve worked hard to build your brand and your customer base…that can change overnight. An unintentional bribery incident can compromise years of hard work. Aside from the upheaval within the business of dealing with regulators and any legal proceedings that result, one of the biggest knock-on effects of an investigation is reputational damage. Some brands take years to recover losses, once that trust is broken it’s a long road back.
3. The risk landscape is constantly changing
When it comes to managing risk, training and awareness must evolve alongside the threats. Something which may seem innocent to some, can in fact be a form of bribery and corruption under anti-bribery regulations. Your workforce needs to be made aware of the implications of accepting gifts, which may seem acceptable, to be able to mitigate the risk of any accidental breaches of bribery and corruption.
4. Ethical businesses prosper
The financial losses incurred by acts of bribery and corruption are not limited to the companies who enact them, but those who are indirectly involved. Integrity resonates with people and it’s people who make a business successful, whether that be employees, stakeholders or customers. Ensuring ethical behaviour within your company encourages trust between those people, and essentially improves business relationships, both externally and internally. Research by Transparency International found that the majority of people interviewed were ‘willing to pay more to buy from corruption-free companies’, indicating the importance of transparency and morality in business.
5. Prevention is the key
Businesses that take measures to prevent bribery and raise awareness through staff intervention will be treated with greater leniency by regulators. This also applies if businesses can demonstrate they performed strong due diligence and issues have been flagged swiftly. A lot of this comes back to driving a transparent culture, where people feel empowered with the knowledge and confidence to take action when they come across a potentially high-risk situation.
Why wait for corruption to occur in your business when you can prevent it?
Discover how to protect your business by embedding the right behaviours and culture using Sponge’s engaging training game, Anti-Bribery Sorted.