Ethics Guidance

Last month one of Ethical Advocate’s blog posts addressed the topic of how to assess risk, as suggested by the Anti-Corruption Ethics and Compliance Handbook for Business. (OECD et al. 2013)

Included in the handbook are tables comparing eight anti-bribery guidance documents for businesses. We have summarized content from the handbook and from the specific documents below.

Business Principles for Countering Bribery

Revised in 2013 for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), this Transparency International publication is intended to provide a framework for companies to develop comprehensive anti-bribery programs. It contains a wealth of information, including clauses and revised language on topics such as risk assessment, conflicts of interest, cooperation with authorities, facilitation payments, lobbyists, communication, and reporting.

Good Practice Guidance on Internal Controls, Ethics and Compliance

This 2010 document, endorsed by the OECD Council, became Annex II of the OECD’s 2009 Recommendation for Further Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials. The OECD intends the Guidance to be readily adaptable by companies, especially SMEs.

Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises

The OECD’s Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises document was updated in 2011 to reflect changes in the international landscape. Overall, the document contains recommendations by governments covering all major areas of business ethics. Part one, chapter seven specifically offers guidance on combating bribery, bribe solicitation, and extortion.

Integrity Compliance Guidelines-World Bank

Published in 2010, this document summarizes the World Bank Group’s integrity compliance guidelines. The guidelines incorporate standards, principles, and components commonly recognized as good practice.

Principles for Countering Bribery

The World Economic Forum produced this document in 2005; part of the Partnering against Corruption Initiative (PACI). It offers principles regarding political contributions; charitable contributions and sponsorships; facilitation payments; gifts, hospitality and expenses; responsibilities of boards of directors, etc.; business relationships; human resources; training; seeking guidance; communication; internal controls and audit; and monitoring and review.

Rules on Combating Corruption

The International Chamber of Commerce significantly revised this publication in 2011. The ICC developed the rules to assist organizations to comply with legal obligations and with the many international anti-corruption initiatives.

APEC Anti-Corruption Code of Conduct for Business

This older (2007) brochure by the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation organization outlines four business integrity and transparency principles for the private sector.

UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC)

UNCAC is a formal treaty, which entered into force in 2005. While generally guiding nations, Article 12 influences the private sector by requiring signatories to the Convention to take steps to prevent corruption in the private sector.

The easy-to-browse tables in the Anti-Corruption Ethics and Compliance Handbook provide a nice comparison of the preceding eight documents. Feel free to contact Ethical Advocate to discuss related information or to review your ethics hotline program.


OECD-UNODC-World Bank.  Anti-Corruption Ethics and Compliance Handbook for Business, November 28, 2013.