The vast majority of large international corporations are falling short when it comes to transparency on political engagement, a new report has found.
An index produced by Transparency International UK (TI-UK), an NGO that campaigns against global corruption, found that four in five companies had poor standards in disclosing their lobbying efforts.
Nearly all failed to disclose their controls on so-called revolving door appointments between the public and private sector.
Kathryn Higgs, director of TI-UK’s business integrity programme, said the findings were a “cause for concern”.
“Businesses must be far more transparent in how they engage with politicians or they risk damaging their reputations with the public and in the long-run will themselves lose out,” she said.
The group called on companies to raise their standards on disclosure, and said that governments should also aim for transparency about their engagement with firms.
TI-UK looked at 104 multinational corporations, giving them a ranking from A to F for the transparency and governance of their political engagements.
Out of all the companies, only UK-based pharmaceutical firm Glaxosmithklein (GSK) attained the highest score, A. GSK rated highly across several other measures, though it recieved only a B rating for its disclosure on lobbying.
Most companies received far lower scores, with household names such as Disney, Ford, Huawei and Samsung among those in the F tier. 76 companies ranked either fairly poorly, poorly or very poorly overall.
“We believe that transparency in reporting demonstrates a company’s commitment to ethical conduct and makes companies more accountable for shortcomings,” TI-UK’s report said.
“By reporting publicly on relevant policies, procedures and activities, companies not only mitigate risk, but also provide the necessary information to make them accountable to investors and the public.”