It is cruel. It is immoral. It shakes us to our core when someone gains unfair advantage over others. As children we cry as we watch the world we know crumble before our eyes, but as we grow we slowly start accepting it. We almost anticipate it.
Some have the misconception that corruption is a rich man’s game, big corporations getting richer while the rest of us quietly carry out our daily activities, unable to do anything about it. However, short term corruption has long term consequences for the whole economy.
Facilitation payments – or “grease money” – are one of the most common forms of corruption. These are small bribes to ensure speedy processes, queue-jumping, inspections approvals and the like.
Facilitation payments may vary from an apple to $10, but have detrimental consequences both locally and globally. Small monetary fees demanded by distributors can squeeze out local businesses unable to pay, as well as inflate prices in the market. This is a recurring challenge. Customs agents can expect USD 1 per container, public officials could expect some compensation for granting licenses, and so on.
You might wonder why all the fuss over sums of one to two dollars? Well, “false” prices can render essential commodities a challenge for families struggling financially. Just consider the impact inflated prices can have on a poor mother’s ability to send her children to school. The spiral continues, with corruption eating away at funds meant for development, resulting in increased taxes to fill the gaps, and ultimately punishing the very people who can least afford it. Our job is to ask, “if we paid, who is next in queue?”.
By refusing to indulge in bribery, we can hopefully break the chain of corruption and unfair advantages for those who can afford it.
Corruption affects the impressions we might have of a country. Building good relations with foreign investors requires trust. Unfair business practices diminish trust in local markets, hindering investments and damaging economic growth and prosperity.
We urge every single person to use their individual right to voice their concerns. As a global company, we have a duty to take responsibility for our actions.
We empower our people to ask questions and demand fairness in the work we do. We offer training to all our employees to make sure they recognize unethical behavior, and we provide reporting channels in more than 50 languages so that no voice is left unheard.
Read more about our Anti-Corruption policy in our Code of Conduct.