Tackling business corruption requires more than just a tick-box approach. It requires a strong culture, one that drives company towards maintaining a visible and active compliance programme at all times.
Starting at the top, company leadership that demonstrates commitment to ethics and values is a critical factor in preventing and mitigating the risks associated with corruption.
Rudi Kruger, GM of LexisNexis Data Services, says that the leadership of an organisation has the ability to inspire and bring about a positive culture by not only refusing to partake in fraudulent practices, but also by ensuring internal procedures to combat corruption are in place and continuously engaged.
What do responsible leaders do?
“Being a responsible leader means acting ethically and ensuring that business is done the right way,” saysKruger.
“The first step towards this ethical approach is by ensuring management at the highest level commit to a culture of non-acceptance themselves. This may not be easy as company leaders are often faced with challenging situations on a daily basis and have to often choose between actions that benefit the company’s profitability through devious means or miss out on these lucrative opportunities.”
However, ethical leaders are effective because they conduct themselves in a way that sets an example for others within the organisation.
Moral leaders also take responsibility by being vocal against corruption and showing support for anti-corruption laws, Kruger added.
“They also ensure that a system of robust checks and balances on inappropriate behaviour is in place to root out risks by meticulously understanding suppliers, partners, acquisition targets, contractors, resellers, grant applicants, and other associates through comprehensive due diligence,” he says.
For leaders who are yet to transform their organisational culture, Kruger said there are key steps that should be implemented toward combatting bribery and corruption. These include:
- Thoroughly understanding the companies and individuals with whom the company interacts and/or does business.
- Researching and staying up to date on key developments with respect to key clients, suppliers, contractors, or partners.
- Researching and vetting potential investment opportunities, partnerships, acquisitions, or other strategic alliances.
- Ensuring ongoing financial health of key suppliers, clients, or other entities the business relies upon.
- Avoiding legal penalties, costs, and reputational damages of being associated with unethical or criminal associates.
- Ensuring compliance with local and international anti-bribery legislation.
- Taking responsibility for complete third party due diligence from start to finish.