The United Nations launched the Anti-Corruption Day in 2003. Since then, it is about raising awareness of the consequences and extent of corruption on 9 December. An article by Manuela Mackert, Chief Compliance Officer (CCO) and Head of Group Compliance Management Deutsche Telekom AG.
Why is it so important to make corruption visible? Corruption is one of the greatest injustices of our time. It prevents prosperity and development. It prevents children from going to school and receiving medical care. It provides poor infrastructure and unsafe buildings. These dramatic consequences can of course be seen more clearly in less developed countries. But corruption is a global phenomenon. And their victims are usually the weakest members of society. The World Bank Institute estimates that bribes amount to one trillion US dollars a year. Developing and emerging countries are expected to lose 20 to 40 billion US dollars each year to corruption. This corresponds to 20 to 40 percent of public funds for development cooperation.
As you can see, corruption is not a trivial offence, but harms society, companies and their employees. Corruption can happen to all of us, even a Christmas present from a business partner or an invitation to dinner can be corruption. We must be aware that it is not only a question of liability risks for everyone, but also of the reputation of our company.
Clear rules for reducing this risk for us. Guidelines, such as the Code of Conduct or the Group Policy on the Acceptance and Granting of Benefits, give you all a concrete framework for action and legal certainty. If employees have any questions or uncertainties, they can consult a special Ask me! Portal.
Another important point in the fight against corruption is open, honest and respectful communication. Listening without evaluating, expressing criticism without insulting, give sincere recognition, and taking time for questions and an open discourse.
We all know situations in which a bad feeling arises, an inner resistance stirs. Then it is important and right to address this feeling openly, even if it requires courage. This is key for a trustful cooperation. And: recognizing and naming problems are the first steps on the way to an open and transparent corporate culture.