*By Carolina Marzano

In the current corporate context, several laws, decrees, regulations and conventions, both nationally and internationally, require companies to have effective Compliance programs in order to carry out their activities, provide their services and sell their products. However, companies must have a culture of ethics and integrity simply because of a market demand, because of the cost of non-compliance and to guarantee the mitigation of penalties in the event of an eventual conviction for corruption, or because of the conviction of doing the right thing and having values and principles as the basis of your reputation?

When we talk about corruption, it is necessary to understand that there are always two parties involved for the illegal act to happen. On the one hand, usually in the public sector, there is the corrupt agent, prone to receiving bribes and kickbacks. However, on the other hand, there is the corrupting agent, the one who is willing to corrupt in order to obtain an undue advantage. And the latter is found precisely in the private sector, within companies, exactly where corruption must be fought in the first place.

In this sense, compliance programs have the role of creating an organizational culture of ethics and integrity, mitigating risks, bringing security and transparency to business, reducing litigious costs, strengthening reputation, among other aspects. However, one of the most important roles of compliance programs is to reduce the impacts of corruption on society.

According to the recommendation of the OECD Council on Public Integrity, “Corruption is being reported as the number one concern of citizens, causing more concern than globalization or migration”. It is important to reflect on how corruption affects minority groups differently, having an even greater impact than on people who are not part of these groups. This is because the public services that are no longer provided due to the diversion of funds are more used by people with lower purchasing power, impacting them even more.

How many young people do not have access to study due to the resources that would be destined to public schools and universities have been diverted by acts of corruption? How many patients are left without medical attention, due to the lack of available beds in hospitals, since the money that should have been invested in public health ended up in the pockets of politicians? How many citizens are assaulted daily because the investment that should have been made in security structure and police force ended up being used to finance schemes involving high authorities, including judges and prosecutors? Questions along these same lines are unfortunately endless.

It is automatic to attribute to the government the sole responsibility of combating corruption. However, the private sector and individuals are key actors in this fight. Only the union of efforts between government, companies and society can promote the necessary structural transformations in order to reduce the social, economic and political impacts caused by this so-called corruption.

*Carolina Marzano, Compliance Officer and Advisor to Committees of the Brazilian Association of Software Companies – ABES

quick access