Nearly three quarters of companies are failing to disclose how they engage with politicians, according to a new report by Transparency International UK.
The 2018 Corporate Political Engagement Index assessed 104 multi-national companies, many of whom regularly meet with Government, on how transparent they are in their political engagement. This included key areas such as donations to political parties, lobbying of those in power, the revolving door, public commitment to ethical behaviour, and the overall transparency of all this information.
Transparency International have produced an excellent video infographic that highlight the findings very clearly.
What does this mean for companies?
Overall, the findings reveal that there are significant opportunities for companies to strengthen responsible political engagement.
The good news is, there are already positive signs of improvement - 30% of companies have strengthened the transparency of their political engagement based on recommendations from Transparency International UK.
In the press release, Kathryn Higgs, Director of the Transparency International UK Business Integrity Programme, said:
“The findings of our 2018 index are definitely 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. There is a strong business case that companies who are open in how they operate are more trusted by customers, deliver higher shareholder returns, avoid damaging scandals and are more attractive for investment.”
“Despite the general disappointing performance, we are encouraged that a high number of companies engaged with us during this research, many of whom subsequently improved how they manage their political activities. Although there is plenty of room for improvement this shows that small changes can deliver positive results for companies.”
“With so much access to information freely available at our finger tips, the public are increasingly demanding more transparency and openness from governments and business. Transparency is the future and increasingly we will see those companies that fail to understand this left behind. The message to both government and business is clear – be more open about how decisions are made or you risk being yesterday’s politicians and long-forgotten companies.”