To mark the occasion, the UN Global Compact - which challenges companies to uphold ten basic principles in labour standards, environment protection and human rights - is launching a worldwide effort to raise awareness and deepen the commitment of its participants to combat corruption.
Backing UN efforts, Fran§ois Vincke, Chair of the ICC Commission on Anti-Corruption, confirmed ICC's intent to stand ready to help companies play their part:
"Business is pleased to see that the fight against corruption has been increasing in momentum over the last year and is now on top of the global agenda. As the world business organization, ICC will continue to develop rules of conduct and create practical tools to help companies live up to their commitment to fight corruption," he said.
Mr Vincke added that in light of new developments, ICC's Commission on Anti-Corruption was currently updating the ICC rules of conduct against extortion and bribery.
The launch of the UN-led effort follows hot on the heels of a number of initiatives taken recently to combat extortion and bribery. These include the signing of the UN Convention against Corruption in Merida, Mexico, in December 2003 and the June 2004 addition of a 10th principle against corruption in the Global Compact, which reads: "Business should work against all forms of corruption, including extortion and bribery."
Corruption, exortion and bribery, and their effect on international business have been an ICC concern for more than 25 years. Last year, ICC published Fighting Corruption: a corporate practices manual, to provide further practical guidance to companies in their efforts to implement anti-corruption policies. The ICC rules of conduct to combat extortion and bribery have also served as a model for numerous corporate compliance policies.
ICC's Commission on Anti-Corruption actively led the business community during the consultation process leading up to the signing of the UN Merida Convention and to the formal adoption of the 10th principle at a Global Compact Leader's Summit in New York earlier this year.
In support of the UN's efforts and persuing its own fight against corruption and bribery, ICC will be leading business input into several dialogue events over the next 12 months, as well as contributing to a Global Compact publication to be released next autumn.