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Political or charitable contributions and sponsorships

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If you believe that there is an increased risk of your suppliers using political or charitable contributions and sponsorships in order to achieve illegal business benefits, and you wish to include this area in the annex to your Code of Conduct, you can add the following requirements to your Code of Conduct by clicking on "Save to clipboard".

Political or charitable contributions and sponsorships are sometimes used to conceal corruption and bribery.

Political and Charitable Contributions and Sponsorships

If or when the supplier, its employees or intermediaries make use of direct or indirect political contributions, charitable contributions and sponsorships it shall ensure that they are:

a) Not used as a subterfuge for bribery;

b) Made transparent.

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Below there is further information on various corruption-related aspects of political or charitable contributions and sponsorships.

Political or charitable contributions and sponsorships are not necessarily corruption

At some time or other, most companies use political or charitable contributions and sponsorships without this necessarily presenting any problems.

As long as such contributions or sponsorships are made in accordance with legislation, on a transparent basis and without any expectation of achieving an illegal commercial benefit, they are not considered to be corruption or bribery. This will be the case, however, if the contribution or sponsorship is given specifically in order to achieve an illegal commercial benefit.

Support to political parties

Support to political parties and candidates is still legal in the majority of countries. However, the area is subject to increasing regulation, for example by making it compulsory for political parties to publish contributions from private enterprises that exceed a certain amount.

Even though it may usually be legal for private enterprises to support political parties or candidates, in many countries there is a certain degree of scepticism towards this type of support from private enterprises. Contributions are perceived as an attempt by companies to influence political decision makers in the company's favour, thereby undermining democratic principles.

Charitable sponsorships and donations

In many countries, companies are directly encouraged to make charitable donations and undertake sponsorships - in some cases as part of their CSR programmes. However, charitable contributions or sponsorships can also be used to conceal bribery or corruption. This may be the case if the contribution is channelled to private purposes, or if a politician benefits directly or indirectly from the contribution. 

Transparency

There may be many good reasons for companies and suppliers to donate to or sponsor various causes, including political parties and candidates.

Companies and suppliers are, therefore, in the first instance recommended to refrain from using contributions, support and donations in order to conceal bribery, and in the second instance to ensure full transparency in conjunction with all sponsorships and donations. The advantage of full transparency is that companies can avoid or refute any accusations of attempted corruption or bribery.

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