B20 Collective Action Hub

The B20 Collective Action Hub is a resource and knowledge centre on anti-corruption Collective Action. It offers tools and a forum for businesses to take concrete steps to jointly step up against corruption and strengthen good business practice for the benefit of all.

The Basel Institute on Governance has operated the B20 Hub since 2013, following a mandate from the B20 group of business leaders to develop and maintain the resource in partnership with the UN Global Compact.

It now contains around a database of around 260 Collective Action initiatives around the world, academic publications, plus analysis and practical tools on effective forms of Collective Action against corruption.

The B20 Collective Action Hub is supported by the Siemens Integrity Initiative.

What is Collective Action against corruption?

Anti-corruption Collective Action refers to the efforts of businesses to reach out to the public sector and civil society to tackle corruption more effectively in a multi-stakeholder approach.

  • Some Collective Action initiatives are driven by companies seeking to address specific issues in their industry sector that affect them all, or in a defined geographic area where they are all confronted with systemic corruption.
  • Some initiatives bring together businesses and governments.
  • Others are tripartite arrangements that involve the private and public sectors, as well as civil society.

The stakeholder composition of an anti-corruption Collective Action can vary and develop over time and be adapted according to the context and developments. It is therefore important to have an experienced facilitator supporting the initiative to develop constructive solutions to challenges as they arise. 

Why do companies engage in Collective Action?

The UK government's guidance on its Bribery Act 2010 states that top-level commitment of companies is evidenced by Collective Action in the same industry sector.

Making Collective Action part of a compliance programme is an important step that should encourage companies to make it part of their internal efforts to prevent corruption. It can help them to operate cleanly in markets where bribery may be systemic, or facilitation payments are the norm.

In countries where there is an elevated risk of corruption because it is entrenched and contracts between the private and public sectors involve government or government entities, the legal and reputational risks for companies can be very high. Where this is the case, an oft-quoted example that describes this situation from an economic perspective is the "prisoner’s dilemma".

The "prisoner's dilemma" has been used to explain how companies react to bribe solicitation where all have an incentive not to pay, particularly if they are subject to anti-corruption laws that are enforced in their home country and have extra-territorial reach. At the same time, companies fear losing business if they simply reject bribery and leave the market to less scrupulous operators.

For companies seeking a practical solution, Collective Action may provide a means to redress the "free-rider" risks of the dilemma and improve the wider business environment as well as the country where bribery is systemic.

Engaging with competitors, local authorities, government agencies and civil society stakeholders to confront bribery risks that are common to market participants can be an efficient way to prevent and reduce corruption.

Making Collective Action "business as usual"

The active involvement of the private sector to prevent and combat corruption is essential. This is not only in the interests of companies themselves but also to the benefit of the countries and communities where they operate. Ultimately, the expansion of multi-stakeholder approaches, including Collective Action, can be a game changer for the prevention and reduction of corruption.

Our goal at the Basel Institute's International Centre for Collective Action is to create the conditions for the systematic use of Collective Action through:

  • Supporting the increased use of Collective Action by the private sector through initiating and facilitating different forms of Collective Action together with local partners. This also includes supporting government-business partnerships (such as High Level Reporting Mechanisms) in high-risk areas, particularly in relation to high-value procurement projects.  
  • Building global policy support and making Collective Action an international norm. Private-sector actors should be obliged to consider how to integrate Collective Action into their anti-corruption compliance risk assessment and solutions’ toolbox.
  • Coordinating a global coalition to monitor and advocate for the implementation of anti-corruption commitments made by governments and the private sector alike. 
  • Strengthening the evidence base for and awareness of Collective Action through the continued creation of knowledge products.

Find out more

The Basel Institute on Governance offers support to practitioners in the public, private, non-profit and civil society sectors on all anti-corruption Collective Action-related topics.

Find out more about the work of our Collective Action team and contact Gemma Aiolfi for more information.

Gemma Aiolfi

Head of Compliance, Corporate Governance and Collective Action
+41 61 205 56 74