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  • Principle 10: Businesses should work against all forms of corruption, including extortion and bribery.

On 24 June 2004, during the UN Global Compact Leaders Summit, it was announced that the UN Global Compact henceforth includes a tenth principle against corruption. This was adopted after extensive consultations and all participants yielded overwhelming expressions of support, sending a strong worldwide signal that the private sector shares responsibility for the challenges of eliminating corruption. It also demonstrated a new willingness in the business community to play its part in the fight against corruption.

It is now clear that corruption has played a major part in undermining the world's social, economic and environmental development. Resources have been diverted to improper use and the quality of services and materials used for development seriously compromised. The impact on poorer communities struggling to improve their lives has been devastating, in many cases undermining the very fabric of society. It has led to environmental mismanagement, undermining labor standards and has restricted access to basic human rights. Business has a vested interest in social stability and in the economic growth of local communities.

It has therefore suffered, albeit indirectly, from the impact of lost opportunities to extend markets and supply chains. The business community can and should play its part in making corruption unacceptable. It is important to recognize that corruption diverts resources from their proper use. Financial resources that were intended for local development may, as a result of corruption, end up in foreign bank accounts instead of being used for local purchasing and the stimulation of local economies. At the same time it distorts competition and creates gross inefficiencies in both the public and private sectors. In most cases when corruption occurs, the services or products being purchased are inferior to what had been expected or contracted for. 

The long-term sustainability of business depends on free and fair competition. Corrupt practices also accompany and facilitate drug dealing and organized crime. Money laundering and illicit international money transfers are used as support mechanisms for international terrorism. Global businesses have to be constantly vigilant to avoid being associated with these major international challenges.