November 21, 2013

It is possible to stay clean!

With good preparation corruption is an unnecessary evil

On November 14, 2013 Mag. Petra Aigner, Managing Director Continuing Education Center, could once more welcome a distinguished guest speaker to a business evening for the students and alumni of the CEC. Dr. Maximilian Burger-Scheidlin, Executive Director, ICC Austria – International Chamber of Commerce talked about the very topical subject: “Corruption reduces profits and increases risks. With good preparation – an unnecessary evil!”.

Corruption is – especially in an international business environment – not always easy to define, yet omnipresent in many countries. Also some of the students and alumni in the audience reported about their personal experience with corrupt business partners. Often company representatives are convinced that they have to bribe if they want to do business in a certain country. With countless examples of successfully resolved cases from his long-time international career, Dr. Burger-Scheidlin strikingly proved that this is not necessarily the case.

At the beginning of the speech he raised awareness for the far-reaching consequences of corruption (besides the damages for society as a whole) in the business to business sector. Apart from the direct financial loss for the payment of bribe money, companies may also become victims of blackmail or espionage as a consequence. If corruption is revealed, the contract is invalid, thus banks and insurances won’t pay. Due to the fact that nowadays corruption is a statutory offense in many countries, the persons in charge may easily get in conflict with civil and/or criminal law. Moreover an increasing number of companies have implemented strict compliance regulations and demand a proof that their business partners are “clean”.

Dr. Burger-Scheidlin said that he is convinced that companies that are market leaders in their segment because of the good quality of their products or services, don’t need to bribe to be awarded a contract. To prevent corruption, he advises companies to raise awareness for the topic at all levels, to be careful with financial incentives, and to implement compliance regulations. His practical advice attracted wide interest among the students and alumni and the lively discussions were also continued at the buffet.

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