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Repsol and EcoVadis speak at ESADE on the importance of training and risk analysis for combatting corruption

Top management commitment is also critical in managing the risks of corruption, according to experts who participated in the ‘Policies to combat corruption’ conference organised by the SERES Fundación and ESADE

‘The International Monetary Fund reports that the annual cost of corruption accounts for almost 2% of global GDP. This is twice the size of Spain’s GDP and has major political and economic consequences’, said Ignasi Carreras during a conference entitled ‘Policies to combat corruption' organised by the SERES Fundación and ESADE. Carreras is a lecturer and director of management training programmes for NGOs at the ESADE Institute for Social Innovation.

Carreras emphasised the need for a real conviction by top management that corruption must be fought and eradicated, rather than just announcing ‘window-dressing’ policies. The conference was opened by Miguel Laloma, business director at the SERES Fundación, who insisted on the need to define the anti-corruption measures and levers used in those Spanish organisations that are committed to applying best practices.

Managing corruption risks

María Rocha, manager for SR Integrity at Repsol, explained how Repsol introduced in 2016 the figure of chief compliance officer: ‘whose main task has been the creation of a model to combat corruption, in accordance with the main international standards such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and ISO 37001’. Rocha also insisted on the power of prevention through training: ‘Repsol has developed a code and conduct course that is mandatory in all employee training plans’.

Alejandra Miranda, EcoVadis business development manager for Latam, Iberia, and France, stressed the need for the state to issue large fines. ‘Brazil and France recently introduced anti-corruption measures and our most recent study shows that the level of corruption affecting 20,000 companies has fallen substantially,’ she remarked.

María Rocha mentioned the role of whistleblower channels for prevention, and said that it was necessary to overcome prejudices, ensure the confidentiality of whistleblowers, and explain to employees that they must not be afraid to use the channels. Alejandra Miranda also pointed out the importance of risk analysis when working with suppliers: ‘it is essential to analyse the risks before deciding to work with a supplier’.

Finally, Ignasi Carreras discussed the importance of implementing anticorruption policies and communicating them internally and externally so that everybody understands. Rocha explained that Repsol’s sustainability reports now specify the number of corruption complaints received