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Leaders' Statement

Guilherme Leal

Co-founder Natura Cosméticos, B Team Leader

Brazil, South America

Bio

Guilherme Leal is a Brazilian business and social entrepreneur, and a B Team Leader. Guilherme co-founded Natura Cosméticos, a Brazilian company globally recognized for its commitment to sustainability.

Statement

Ending anonymous companies is good for business

Business is inherently about trust – our spending and investment expresses our trust in products, brands, and companies. However, trust is eroded by unethical business practice, by corruption and by secrecy. Globally, we have seen declines in trust of both business and government. A critical task now is for governments and business is to regain that trust.

A fundamental building block of trust is knowing who sits behind a company – who ultimately owns or controls it, and who benefits from its business. Currently, it remains too easy to set up anonymous shell companies, and to use these entities for fraud, corruption, crime, to finance violence and terrorism and to avoid any number of responsibilities for workers, the environment or to contribute to the public financial resources of a country. These anonymous shell companies are not just in tropical islands – the U.S. is one of the easiest and most popular places to establish an anonymous company.

In business, it is crucial to know who you are doing business with – to ensure they are reliable, to avoid fraud, and to reduce the risk of doing business with politically exposed persons and potential liability.

Currently, finding out who you are doing business with comes down to each individual business needing to do extensive research. A much more sensible approach would be to ensure that any company established anywhere in the world is required to disclose who owns or controls it and ensure that interested parties can access that information.

I greatly welcome commitments of G20, EU and now governments that are members of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, to requiring transparency of beneficial or company ownership. I look forward to further commitments at the London Summit and to an ever expanding practice of ownership transparency globally.

Being honest about who owns and controls companies will be a big step forward in rebuilding trust.

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We are grateful to all the authors and contributing organisations within this Manifesto and to the partner organisations that helped to convene this landmark collection of anti-corruption statements from across a wide range of business and civil society leaders. The partners for the Leaders' Anti-Corruption Manifesto are The B Team, Thomson Reuters, the Global Organisation of Parliamentarians Against Corruption, the ONE campaign and the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council

This project is supported by a grant from the Omidyar Network.

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