In a statement released on January 9, the Business Council of Mongolia (BCM) expressed their stance on corruption and called on the government and businesses to implement certain measures to combat corruption.
According to their website, BCM is a non-governmental organization (NGO) that was founded in 2007 to promote increased trade and investment in Mongolia. BCM highlights that they represent all investors in Mongolia, domestic and foreign, in business climate issues. BCM is made up of 248 organizations ranging from large multinational corporations such as Rio Tinto, international organizations such as World Bank, foreign embassies, Mongolian commercial banks, and other major businesses.
Their statement reads, “Corruption, and in particular bribery, are increasingly relevant topics for businesses around the globe. Based on an estimate from World Bank, 1 trillion USD is lost to bribes every year. This number shows the vast size of the problem. Corruption creates costs and risks for companies, and generates enormous negative impacts for political, economic, and social development.”
They detailed that even though corruption is seen as a problem in the public sector, companies are often the catalyst for these types of dealings. BCM sees the public and private sectors as part of the corruption equation and believes that both must do their part in combating corruption. They highlighted the efforts and the actions they have undertaken, saying, “The Business Council of Mongolia (BCM) has established the Business Ethics Working Group to help members enhance internal controls, promote best practices and responsible business conduct, advocate for transparency, and to enable a healthier business environment through capacity-building activities, peer-learning sessions, and collective action.”
BCM acknowledges that the newly passed National Anti-Corruption Strategy can offer positive new reforms to lower corruption. They are calling on the government to take further action and proposed directions and specific points. The BCM proposes that the government take the following measures:
• Create a strong legal framework consistent with international standards, such as the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), and encourage transparent and ethical business practices
• Enforce laws and policies related to anti-corruption, with a focus on systemic issues
• Implement anti-corruption and integrity systems within government institutions and actively cooperate with businesses to tackle corruption
• Strengthen the Independent Authority Against Corruption (IAAC) by ensuring sufficient funding and securing it from political interference, giving it a stronger and more independent mandate
The BCM also called on private businesses to do their part in helping to fight corruption. Stating, “More and more national as well as international companies in Mongolia implement corruption risk management systems and strive to operate with integrity. However, the private sector has more to do, and our business leaders must strongly encourage and materially support others’ commitment to fight corruption.” The members of the Business Ethics Working Group said they have committed to taking the following actions:
• Continuous improvement of integrity standards within their own organizations and the promotion of these standards amongst peers and business partners, including the development of exemplary policies, guidelines, and tools that can be applied by the business community to improve their standards of integrity and practices
• Active cooperation with the public sector to tackle corruption
• Collaboration with international organizations with a focus on combating corruption and promoting ethical and transparent business practices