Following on from our recent article on our Business Ethics and Anti-Bribery Policy Survey, we compared policies which had been published in 2012/2013 (being the dates of the earliest publically available policies), with those published recently this year and late 2015.
We observed 5 notable trends:
- More recently published policies tend, on the whole, to cover a broader range of the key risk areas for bribery and corruption. The number of policies specifically addressing topics like hospitality, sponsored travel, charitable donations/sponsorships and dealing with third parties/business partners has increased between the two samples.
- There was increased awareness of procurement as a key risk area, with the number of published policies addressing dealings with suppliers/procurement significantly rising over this time period.
- We also saw a trend towards more detailed policies. The majority of older policies tended to focus on outlining what is prohibited and the penalties/consequences of breach. The majority of more recently published policies tend to also include more guidance, procedures and controls to prevent, detect and respond to bribery and corruption.
- A number of the more recently published policies included guidance on warning signals or scenarios that employees should be alert to in detecting potential bribery and corruption risks.
- Newer policies also tended to provide employees with more options of who to go to with questions or concerns on ABC issues.
In general, it appears that companies are increasingly looking to comply with international anti-bribery and corruption standards, even where the laws in their own jurisdiction are less stringent. Companies are taking a proactive approach and seeing anti-bribery policies as key tools in communicating to employees, suppliers, customers and other third parties the types of behaviours that will not be tolerated.
The contents of this publication, current at the date of publication set out above, are for reference purposes only. They do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Specific legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be sought separately before taking any action based on this publication.
© Herbert Smith Freehills 2019