Guide

Ethical trading

Avoid corruption and bribery overseas

An essential element of corporate social responsibility is honest and transparent trading. Bribery and corruption create a disincentive to trade as well as uneven trading conditions that can damage economic systems and the individuals within them.

Under UK law, there is:

  • a general offence of bribery, which is defined as giving someone a financial or other advantage to induce them to perform their functions or activities improperly, or to reward them for having already done so
  • an offence of bribing a foreign public official in order to win business, keep business or gain a business advantage for the organisation
  • an offence relating to failure by a business to prevent a person associated with it from committing the above offences on its behalf in order to win business, keep business or gain a business advantage for the organisation

You will have a statutory defence to the last of these offences if your business has adequate procedures in place to prevent bribery on your behalf.

As well as having adequate procedures in place:

  • if you suspect a business of corruption, inform the local authorities
  • ensure you keep accurate financial records so you can demonstrate that all transactions are completed fairly and legally

Read more information on UK bribery and corruption law.

Read guidance on bribery law and managing the risks of international corruption.