ESG increasingly part of anti-bribery and corruption programs

21 December 2021 2 min. read
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Global consulting firm Kroll has released an update to its ‘Anti-Bribery and Corruption Benchmarking’ report. David Liu, a Hong Kong based Managing Director and member of the APAC Management Committee, reflects on one of the key findings: a growing focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG).

Shifting sentiment amongst 200 senior risk executives in APAC, Europe, Latin America, and the US and Canada showed the increasing role of ESG in anti-bribery and corruption programs. In less than six months, an overall rise of six percentage points from 54% to 60% has been seen amongst those who include ESG as part of their anti-bribery and corruption program.

Not only does that indicate a swift upswing in the importance of culture and environmental, social and governance inclusion in anti-bribery and corruption programs, but the data also highlights important differences across regions.

ESG Inclusion in ABC Programs

A detailed breakdown of the responses shows disparity between respondents from different regions. Asia Pacific and the US and Canada experienced the largest increases in inclusion with a 16% and 14% jump, respectively. In comparison, Europe’s respondents including ESG in their anti-bribery and corruption program increased at a slower pace by 6 percentage points from 52% to 58% between the first and the second instance of the survey.

The outlier is Latin America where 54% of respondents indicated that ESG is currently part of their anti-bribery and corruption program, an 8% drop from the survey earlier in the year. Variations in responses may be explained by regional factors and the differences in relevant regulatory and compliance landscapes. With this uptick in the US and Canada, ESG in now included in 50% or more of anti-bribery and corruption programs across the four regions’ respondents surveyed.

Climate change mitigation was most commonly selected by respondents in Asia Pacific (30%), followed by air and water pollution, human rights and abuses, diversity, equity & inclusion, and business ethics (28% each). The results reflect the regional response to global pressure on reducing emissions, by which many Asia Pacific countries are affected as their economies are developing and rely heavily on manufacturing and agricultural activities.

This is also a regional security concern, as Asia Pacific is usually among the top two regions most affected by climate change in terms of weather extremes and community displacement that result in supply chain disruptions and scarcity, causing local tensions and higher security risks.

Nearly two years into the pandemic, this is according to the survey an opportune time to understand and evaluate strengths, weaknesses and emerging trends in anti-bribery and corruption programs and the critical challenges faced by compliance officers.