Thailand

Private Sector Collective Action Against Corruption

Thailand demonstrates that the consolidation of democratic principles and practices in a country requires more than the ability to vote, and corruption is perhaps the most destabilizing issue facing the country. To combat this enduring threat to the emergence of democracy in Thailand, CIPE designed an innovative program that targets the supply side of bribery. CIPE established a set of specific criteria on corporate governance and anti-bribery corporate compliance that, if enacted by a company, reduce the probability that a company’s employees and agents engage in bribery. The Thai Institute of Directors (IOD), the leading corporate governance organization in SE Asia, launched an ongoing campaign to recruit Thai and multinational companies to adopt these internal controls. There is also an independent certification mechanism that formally verifies that companies actually do what they promise to do. Today, nearly 1,000 of the largest Thai and multinational companies in Thailand comprise a collective action against corruption coalition led by IOD.

This process of formally verifying that companies live up to their anti-corruption promises, and sanctioning those that do not, makes this collective action initiative as robust and comprehensive as any private sector anti-corruption effort in the world. By establishing uniform standards of conduct to which companies must adhere and by facilitating the sharing of information on anti-corruption experiences and best practices, this anti-corruption campaign is leveling the playing field and increasing transparency and accountability in the Thai marketplace. This reduces the likelihood that businesses engage in corruption. In other words, this collective action initiative is changing “the way things are done” in Thailand.