Bribery in international business

Foreign bribery - Initiative to raise global awareness


Last updated: 30 May 2014

Who pays the price for foreign bribery? We all do

But we all have the ability - and responsibility - to stop this extremely harmful conduct.

Every year, millions of dollars are squandered on bribes paid to public officials in exchange for business advantages. The result: shoddy roads, crumbling bridges, sub-standard hospitals and schools, and food and drugs that don’t meet safety standards.

Too few realise bribery carries a price. The more everyone knows about this crime, the less likely companies are to offer bribes, the less likely public officials are to receive or solicit them, and the more likely law enforcement authorities are to investigate foreign bribery allegations.


Initiative to Raise Global Awareness of Foreign Bribery

With this in mind, the OECD launched in December 2009 an Initiative to Raise Global Awareness of Foreign Bribery to:

  • raise awareness of foreign bribery as a crime

  • illustrate the negative impact of foreign bribery

  • increase interest in anti-bribery measures for every country

The launch of the Initiative came 10 years after the entry into force in 1999 of the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions, one of the world’s most effective anti-corruption instruments, and the only one focused directly on foreign bribery.


Who is part of the Initiative?

All 41 Members of the OECD Working Group on Bribery—including all 34 OECD member countries plus Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Colombia, Latvia, Russia and South Africa—are part of the Initiative.


OECD’s longstanding fight against foreign bribery

The OECD Anti-Bribery Convention requires that the 41 states parties criminalise the bribery of foreign public officials to obtain advantages in international business, and subject companies and individuals who engage in such bribery to effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions. States parties are also required to disallow tax deductions for bribe payments under the 2009 Recommendation on Tax Measures for Combating Foreign Bribery.


Join the fight

International organisations, NGOs, corporate networks or governments with similar anti-corruption agendas are invited to join us in this initiative. Email us for more information at





Anti-Corruption Ethics and Compliance Handbook for Business (pdf)

OECD Partners with UNODC, Academic Community, on Anti-Corruption Academic Initiative (2013)

Foreign Bribery Factsheet (French | Spanish)

About the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention and Working Group on Bribery (French | Spanish)

Working Group on Bribery Annual Report front cover, shadowAnnual report of the OECD Working Group on Bribery

OECD Anti-Bribery Convention included in the 2011 Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition (2011)

Webcast: Q&A with Mark Pieth (2010)

Survey of Legal Professionals on Awareness and Impact of Bribery and Corruption (2010)

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