Bribery Tops List as Number One Risk Concern of Global Companies for 2009

Waltham, MA — December 30, 2008 — A new study of top corporate compliance concerns points to an international shift from inward-facing compliance concerns such as "financial integrity" to outward-focused concerns such as "anti-bribery requirements," the leading concern on this year's list, according to Integrity Interactive Corporation.

Integrity Interactive, which helps global corporations manage and reduce the risk of compliance failures, recently announced the results of the 2009 version of its annual study on the top 12 corporate compliance concerns expressed by global companies.

According to the study, companies are putting greater focus on outward-facing compliance concerns as they address how their actions affect the world in addition to focusing on preventing harm to themselves. This changing focus resulted in "conflicts of interests & gifts" and "product safety & liability" jumping towards the top of this year's list.

Recent headline-grabbing bribery cases involving politicians in Massachusetts and Alaska, major industrial conglomerates in Europe and now the spectacular bribery charges against Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich illustrate that the concerns of global organizations reflected in the "2009 Top 12" list are accurately placed. It also demonstrates that global businesses are ahead of the curve and taking action, Integrity Interactive said.

Increased demand for supply chain integrity also shaped this year's Top 12 and drove business awareness of the potential ethics, compliance and corporate social responsibility risks faced from misconduct in a supply chain. Concern over new supply chain regulations, negative media exposure from potential supply chain scandals and conduct of business partners played a role in pushing "anti-bribery requirements" (number one), "conflicts of interest & gifts" (number two) and "product safety & liability" (number six) to the top half of this year's list.

"The spate of recent bribery and corruption cases involving prominent government officials shows that this same level of rigor is missing in the public sector. Ethics and compliance efforts in government remain weak," said Integrity CEO David Curran. "Drastic changes in our global economy and recognition of the importance of supply chain integrity have companies demonstrating a renewed commitment to the basic principles of corporate ethics and compliance. Integrity's new Top 12 research shows that companies across industry sectors and global regions are taking steps to ensure transparency, ethical behavior and quality controls."

The leading corporate ethics and compliance concerns for 2009 were:

  • Anti-Bribery Requirements: The top compliance concern of major corporations today, understanding anti-bribery requirements helps companies avoid the difficulties of organizations under investigation for charges relating to official corruption.
  • Conflicts of Interests & Gifts: Employers are concerned their employees know how to avoid conflicts of interest with suppliers, vendors and customers.
  • Antitrust Contact with Competitors: Global companies recognize the importance of educating executives, frequently those in sales and marketing, about not engaging in practices that could reduce competition or consumer choice.