Anti-corruption initiatives and the importance of responsible global business practices were topics discussed at a Roundtable in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The event, hosted by CREATe.org and the Brazilian Institute for Ethics in Competition (ETCO), brought together more than 20 executives from leading Brazilian companies and organizations working in a range of industries spanning from food and beverage to energy, telecoms, consumer goods, pharmaceuticals and other areas.
- Congressman Carlos Zarattini kicked off the discussion by sharing insights on anti-corruption legislation recently passed by the Brazillian legislature and now awaiting signature by the President. Following that keynote, participants discussed the importance of the legislation aligning with the U.N. Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), which has been ratified by 166 parties and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions. In addition, the participants discussed the complexity of having local, state and federal authorities in Brazil involved in enforcing the law.
Former Brazilian Ambassador to the U.S., China, and Germany, and current ETCO CEO, Roberto Abdenur, shared insights into the local business environment, as well as the public’s view of and confidence in public institutions and the private sector. According to Ambassador Abdenur, unlike many other countries the Brazilian public has greater confidence in the private sector, compared to political parties, the legislature, and other public institutions. This provides the Brazilian business community with an opportunity to provide leadership on efforts to address public and private corruption. CREATe.org’s Pamela Passman led a discussion on ways that companies are working to improve compliance on anti-corruption and another related area of governance, IP protection. She shared insights into CREATe.org’s pilot program and provided guidance around best practices.
The top themes emerging from the discussion included the following:
1. Companies are very focused on building internal compliance programs to address anti-corruption, and some large IP-intensive companies are focused on IP compliance programs, but all recognize the opportunity to mature their internal compliance programs.
2. Companies understand the need to extend compliance programs to key suppliers and business partners, in particular small and medium-enterprises, while recognizing the challenges of doing so.
3. At the same time, companies see the importance of taking steps toward maturing compliance programs, as well as ensuring that compliance programs address the unique culture of an organization were also discussed.