WE, THE MINISTERS AND REPRESENTATIVES of Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, the Russian Federation, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union:
RECALLING the 2009 Ministerial Conclusions and particularly the agreement on the need to develop a set of common standards and processes regarding the conduct of international business and finance;
RECOGNISING that the OECD has worked over the years on propriety, integrity and transparency in the conduct of international business and finance and has developed instruments in these fields (Annex I), and recognising the initiatives undertaken by its bodies (Annex II);
MINDFUL that this Declaration is without prejudice to OECD instruments, their interpretation and application and to the formal positions that countries may have taken in their regard;
1) Propriety, integrity and transparency are the keystone of an economy which commands the support and confidence of the people and serves their needs and aspirations.
2) Effective competition is key to an efficient and healthy market and leads to higher economic productivity and growth. Anticompetitive practices should be punished and deterred and unnecessary government restraints on competition should be removed.
3) Governance of companies should promote respect for the rule of law, board accountability and equitable treatment of shareholders and appropriate cooperation with stakeholders. Remuneration and incentives should be consistent with companies’ long-term goals and risk policy.
4) Corporate disclosure policies of enterprises should be tailored to their nature, size and location, promote real transparency and ensure disclosure of timely and accurate information regarding their activities, financial situation, non-financial performance, adherence to responsible investment principles, foreseeable risks (including social, ethical and environmental risks), ownership, and governance.
5) Corporate vehicles should not be misused for illicit purposes. Standards of responsible business conduct should be reflected in corporate decision-making. Corporate responsibility entails timely and accurate fulfilment of tax obligations wherever a company operates. Companies should comply with both the letter and the spirit of the tax law.
6) Bribery, and particularly bribery in international business transactions, undermines good governance and sustainable economic development, distorts international competitive conditions. Effective measures should be taken to ensure its prevention, including through awareness raising initiatives, prosecution and punishment.
7) Money laundering is a serious threat to the global economy which undermines the integrity of financial institutions and should be effectively prosecuted and punished.
8) Interaction between governments and business, including with respect to public procurement, lobbying and “revolving doors” practices, should be conducted in accordance with principles of transparency, integrity and fairness to all parties.
9) Business and market regulatory frameworks should serve clearly identified policy goals and produce benefits that justify costs, comply with principles of necessity, practicality and transparency and be submitted to a systematic assessment of their impact.
10) Effective financial regulation is essential to support a stable and well-functioning financial system. Financial education and consumer protection is an important element of this framework. Financial institutions and intermediaries’ accountability and responsibility should be encouraged in providing fair and transparent information and advice to their clients and promoting their financial awareness.
Governments and private actors to take appropriate steps to implement this Declaration;
The OECD to support the principles in this Declaration through the regular activities of its bodies;
The OECD to continue its consultations on its activities on propriety, integrity and transparency with the Business and Industry Advisory Committee and the Trade Union Advisory Committee, and other stakeholders.
NB: This Declaration is open to adherence by non-OECD countries; in this case, its endorsement does not necessarily entail adherence to the instruments listed in Annex I nor participation in the initiatives in Annex II.