Oil and mining companies agree ‘model’ ethics guideSeptember 2011
The energy and extractives industry has launched a set of anti-corruption principles in response to the July introduction of the UK Bribery Act.
Companies including Anglo American, BP, Rio Tinto and Shell have drawn up a document, based on their ‘considerable experience of managing potential bribery and corruption’. Statements on risk assessment, executive responsibility, due diligence, procedures and communication make up the principles, which were written with the Institute of Business Ethics and in consultation with the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).
Key principles include the provision of a reporting facility for staff on ethical issues, the discussion of corruption risks at top management level and the introduction of routine risk assessments.
SFO director Richard Alderman said: “It is very clear from reading this guidance that the companies in this sector are committed to full compliance with the Bribery Act and are living up to the high ethical standards that society expects of them.
“This readily accessible guidance is an excellent example of good practice and a model of what is needed.”
Meanwhile, a record UK fine for corruption has been meted out to the multinational insurance broker Willis, the most noteworthy decision since the Bribery Act’s introduction.
The British arm of Willis, the world’s third-largest broker, was fined £6.9m for the failure of its anti-corruption systems to prevent and identify bribery. The firm was heavily criticized by the Financial Services Authority for payments of £27m to overseas third parties who, it was deemed, assisted them in obtaining business between 2005 and 2009. Some of these payments have been passed to the Serious Organized Crime Agency, though the SFO has not opened an investigation.
The UK Bribery Act applies to both individuals and companies and, in the case of the latter, makes it a corporate offence to fail to prevent bribery.
Already a member? click here to login