Creating Sustainability on the Global Stage

May 11, 2012
Categories: Anti-corruption, Intellectual Property

After the recent Roundtable that CREATe co-hosted with the U.S. Department of State, we hosted a luncheon discussion featuring three noteworthy speakers:

  • Richard Locke,  Head of Political Science at MIT Sloan School of Management and an Advisory Council member for
  • Keith Maskus,  Economics Professor and Associate Dean, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder and also an Advisory Council member for
  • Jane Nelson, Director of Harvard Kennedy School’s Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative

Each weighed in on the broader discussion of the day: Safeguarding Intellectual Property and Preventing Corruption in Global Markets.

Locke discussed the research that he and his students have been conducting – and the topic of an upcoming book – on globalization and labor standards.

He shared his insights on how to build a culture of compliance. He mentioned that there are good laws on the books in most jurisdictions, but often times they are not respected by the private sector or enforced by the government. 

How do we get suppliers to respect laws and get serious about compliance?  He believes that building capacity is crucial – suppliers often need help with technology, management and other systems. He also noted that private sector also has to be aware of how upstream business practices may be driving bad behavior down the supply chain

Maskus made four key points:

  • First, there is significant evidence that when countries make increases in IP protection, they increase inward tech flows – at least in middle income and emerging economies.  In the poorest countries, there is no effect.
  • Second, there is a significant interrelationship between IP reforms and education.
  • Third, the private sector is crucial in encouraging the use of IP in emerging economies.
  • Finally, he noted that more information and data is necessary to learn more about the channels and effects of trade secret theft.

Nelson shared insights from her work in collective actions over the past decade.  She highlighted three lessons:

  1. Capacity building is critical to driving change in supply chains. It is imperative to scale up employees and provide technical assistance. She mentioned that government supply chains offer great opportunity to start this trend. She also believes that it’s important to involve and train local auditors and journalists on these issues and the elements of capacity building so that they can begin to shape debate.
  2. There is value in sector-specific activity. Each sector has different challenges and issues and as such, should work collectively to develop systems that work for their sector.
  3. Local and country-level engagement is essential.  She cited Transparency International’s Integrity Pacts integrity pacts provide a mechanism to ensure integrity in the contract from procurement through execution.

These issues are complex and challenging but not insurmountable. is grateful to these thought leaders for sharing their depth of knowledge and also providing recommendations for moving towards a global trading environment that is fair and sustainable.