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  • Andrei Bougrov, the Business 20 Task Force Chair, Vice President of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs

Business 20 proposes practical measures to fight corruption

On February 26, 2013, the Business 20 presented its tentative recommendations on measures to curb corruption at the G20 Anti-Corruption Working Group (ACWG) meeting held in Moscow. The meeting was a continuation of the dialogue on anti-corruption between the G20 and the Business 20 since the B20 Task Force on improving Transparency and Anti-corruption was established at the Cannes G20 Summit in 2010.

The Business 20 Task Force Chair, Vice President of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs Andrei Bougrov updated the G20 on the Task Force developments since the last meeting in October 2012.

The B20 Task Force has made its priorities to revise the recommendations of previous years, and focus on implementation. It has also made efforts to align its work more closely to the agenda of the G20.

The four main themes that the B20 is working on this year are ensuring transparency in public procurement, promoting collective action, capacity building across the supply chain and amongst SMEs, and strengthening the role of the private sector in improving the regulatory environment. These themes all resonate strongly with the G20 Anti-corruption Action Plan for 2013-2014.

The Task Force has also created an Implementation Work stream. The idea is to "test" the applicability of these initiatives in a pilot market, which in this case would be Russia.

Brook Horowitz, Director of Business Standards at the International Business Leaders Forum (IBLF) outlined a number of projects which the B20 is focusing on. These are projects which business is ready to support with expertise, resource and in some case financing. To promote clean public procurement business community is eager to support the World Bank's benchmarking on public procurement. The B20 is also planning to set up a "Collective Action Hub", i.e. a web-based facility which will enable the exchange of best practices among companies and governments working together to create fair competition in specific countries, markets and industries.

Education and capacity building form a crucial part of the B20 program, and most of the major companies are already promoting better awareness of compliance within their supply chains. There were also initial thoughts to examine the issue of how governments and international organizations can promote better compliance through making borrowing and the right to participate in public tenders conditional on companies' adoption of adequate compliance procedures. Companies are also pledging to share their experience of compliance management with the public sector, through training, exchange of best practice, and periodic review of international legislation.

During the discussion, the G20 representatives gave a high evaluation of the practical nature of the B20 proposals. The need for information exchange and best practices dissemination was reiterated, and in connection with this, the idea of a Collective Action hub received particular attention. Ideas of creating some kind of counterparty to the hub in each country were outspoken, with a view to disseminate best practices into the markets and feed local experience back into the hub. A significant role this network could also play refers to monitoring and tracking the implementation of the B20 recommendations. The combined "hub" and "spokes" of the wheel in each country could have significant impact on improving business culture.

A number of countries requested more information about the B20 program and enquired whether exchange of training opportunities for public officials could be launched. The urgent necessity to bring more companies from the emerging markets, and from the financial services industries, into the B20 was clearly recognized, and a number of the ACWG suggested that their respective governments could support this domestically.

Dmitry Feoktistov, the Co-Chair of the ACWG and Deputy Director of the Department on New Challenges and Threats of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs requested the B20 to conduct a study benchmarking of voluntary business codes of conduct in the G20 economies.