Multi-stakeholder cooperation critical to fighting corruption
A more concerted and consistent approach to tackling corruption globally is needed to support the efforts of responsible businesses. Vodafone is committed to doing business ethically, lawfully and fairly and without bribery, as set out in our Code of Conduct. We recognise that a market free from corruption allows us to compete on the quality of our services, which benefits our customers. Stronger enforcement is needed across all markets to ensure that businesses who try to act responsibly are not penalised.
In particular, governments and businesses should work together actively to stamp out low-level facilitation payments. The mutual benefits derived from addressing this issue, which range from avoiding potential confrontation, to reducing the cost of doing business and raising the effectiveness of public administration, are clear.
Anti-corruption efforts should also be supported by greater transparency in government and public administration through, for example, investment in electronic platforms for public procurement and the allocation of permits. The online reporting of spectrum auctions in Germany and India have been seen to promote the fairer allocation of spectrum and protect against the misappropriation of revenues generated. Similarly, the use of online applications for site planning permits can improve operational efficiency and remove opportunities for potential corruption.
On the investment front, more needs to be done to address tainted assets. A clear and consistent framework is needed for companies that invest directly or indirectly in potentially tainted assets, in order to introduce better business practices into target companies. We would encourage governments to agree a global framework and protocol for handling tainted assets to provide greater certainty to investors. The work of the Tainted Assets Working Group (a dialogue between anti-corruption professionals in industry, civil society, governments and multilateral bodies, supported by the OECD) is a good starting point and should inform any international agreement.
This Summit is a critical juncture in the global fight against corruption. Vodafone strongly urges those leaders taking part to agree tangible objectives that will tackle corruption for the benefit of all stakeholders, including business.