Collective Action is gaining attention as a powerful tool for businesses, NGOs and policymakers to fight corruption together.
The UK Anti-Corruption Summit, held in May 2016, was a valuable opportunity for Government Leaders actively to promote Collective Action, which directly addresses two key themes of the London Anti-Corruption Summit’s agenda, namely
- The need collaboratively to improve the standards of various international anti-corruption efforts
- The need to engage stakeholders within society to promote these efforts.
Collective Action is a process of cooperation amongst various stakeholders, including businesses, governments and civil society. Fighting corruption collectively increases the impact and credibility of individual action. Common forms of anti-corruption Collective Action include anti-corruption declarations; integrity pacts; principle-based initiatives; and certifying business coalitions.
Businesses recognise that there are certain corruption issues which cannot be tackled alone. Collective Action provides opportunities for businesses, the public sector, and civil society to empower themselves through collaboration to develop new initiatives to tackle these systemic corruption issues. For example, in a tender process, Collective Action commitments like integrity pacts promote increased prospects of fair selection. For all stakeholders concerned, Collective Action contributes to enhanced public reputation and credibility.
At an international level, Collective Action can be used as a tool to help ensure the consistent and fair enforcement of regulations. National legislation and international conventions are further supplemented and bolstered by engaged industry stakeholders. If approached correctly, Collective Action can fill lacunae in legislation or augment inadequate local law.
Call to action
Collective Action efforts can be fostered internationally with renewed engagement from interested stakeholders (including most notably national governments) at a national and international level and increased publicity of the success of significant projects already underway, like initiatives within the extractive, shipping and energy industries.
In anticipation of the Summit, now is the time to think about what governments can do to engage in Collective Action in the wider business environment.
- Does your government understand the potential impact of Collective Action?
- Is your government committed to supporting Collective Action?
- Is this commitment articulated in a formalised and published Anti-Corruption plan?
- Could your government engage more with businesses and NGOs in promoting and developing Collective Action initiatives?
Leaders should use the Summit as a key platform to support Collective Action and create opportunities for Collective Action initiatives. Furthermore, Government Leaders should recognise and promote Collective Action as a collaborative and innovative tool to address systemic and deep-rooted corruption.
A version of this article was included in the Leader’s Anti-Corruption Manifesto published by Transparency International UK in advance of the Summit.