Toward a New Trust: A Call to Act on Corruption

09/27/2017
Concordia Panel

“Be active. Voice your views. This is a conversation that is going to change the world.”  

Opening last week’s “Toward a New Trust” event at the Concordia Summit, Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation and B Team Leader, challenged leaders from business, civil society and government to strengthen and scale up the fight against corruption. Speakers underscored their commitment to this challenge throughout the event.     

Professor George Gyan-Baffour, Minister for Planning of the Republic of Ghana, made news during the plenary when he announced President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s intention to pass a new Right to Information Bill, a crucial step toward greater openness. His remarks also reinforced the President’s commitment to requiring companies to publish ownership structures, including through collaboration with OpenOwnership, further cementing Ghana’s status as a champion of government transparency and anti-corruption measures.

Business and civil society leaders echoed the importance of these policies. “Without transparency, you don’t have trust,” said Paul Polman, CEO at Unilever and B Team Leader. “And without trust you don’t have prosperity.” Polman urged business leaders to move away from short-term approaches in favor of longer-term strategies – using the SDGs as a framework – to capture new market opportunities, and enable companies to pursue and deliver values, not just value.

Participants, including B Team Leaders Bob Collymore, CEO at Safaricom and Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Former Coordinating Minister of the Economy & Minister of Finance of Nigeria, Robert Barrington, Executive Director of Transparency International UK, Geoff Healy, Chief External Affairs Officer at BHP, Pavlo Dmytrovych Petrenko, Minister of Justice of Ukraine and José Ugaz, Chair of Transparency International discussed the importance of trust as the foundation of equitable socio-economic development. They highlighted progress made against government commitments delivered at the 2016 London Anti-Corruption summit, and shined a light on countries which are leading the way in the growing movement toward greater business and government transparency.  

Participants emphasised successful approaches to building credibility, including cross-sector partnerships, and encouraged other leaders to join the effort. Establishing public beneficial ownership registers, working to end anonymous companies and publishing company tax practices are indicators of a growing movement for transparency. However, speakers also stressed the need for greater action and momentum to build thriving communities free of corruption.        

Read below for some of the insights from this conversation. To watch a recording of this discussion, click here. To view key visuals that accompanied the dialogue, click here. To get involved with The B Team’s work on fighting corruption, contact transparency@bteam.org.    

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