On July 10, CREATe.org’s President and CEO Pamela Passman gave a presentation addressing the global impacts of corruption at the Ethisphere Latin American Ethics Summit. For the session, she joined Roberto Abdenur, former Brazilian Ambassador to the U.S., China, and Germany and currently the CEO of the Brazilian Institute for Ethics in Competition (ETCO).
Abdenur shared insights on new legislation recently passed by the Brazilian Congress. The most significant aspect of the legislation is that companies can now be prosecuted for corruption locally and abroad. He also highlighted ways in which local Brazilian companies are incorporating responsible business practices as a way to fuel innovation and foster an environment that attracts investment and levels the playing field for companies in Brazil.
Passman talked about global trends in regard to corruption, an issue that The United Nations calls “the single greatest obstacle to economic and social development around the world.” She spoke about how anti-corruption and anti-bribery legislation has moved beyond the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). Today countries as diverse as Vietnam, Ukraine, Morocco, China, Russia, the U.S. and Brazil are all agreeing and signing on to The United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) and implementing domestic laws to criminalize bribery. These countries join 166 parties who have ratified UNCAC, including the European Union.
After brief presentations, Abdenur and Passman fielded questions from the audience, which was comprised of compliance officers, general counsel and risk managers. There was interest in the new laws, and another theme that emerged was the need to break down compliance programs into smaller steps and phases and build out systems over time.