Collective Action

Collective Action is a collaborative approach to address corruption challenges and raise standards of integrity and fair competition in business. The Basel Institute has promoted Collective Action as an effective tool to prevent and combat corruption since its foundation in 2003.

Our team provides advice and resources on Collective Action to companies, business associations, NGOs and multi-stakeholder groups around the world. We also help to develop and facilitate Collective Action initiatives that bring together businesses and other stakeholders to, among other things:

  • raise standards of integrity across industries locally and worldwide;
  • develop best practice self-regulatory standards within specific industry sectors;
  • solve systemic issues related to bribery and corruption;
  • enhance conditions for fair competition and level the playing field between competitors.

Our approach is one of collaboration and sustained cooperation between stakeholders. We focus on developing pragmatic and business-oriented mechanisms that address specific problems affecting all concerned and that fit the context in which they need to work.

Frequently asked questions

What is anti-corruption Collective Action?

Anti-corruption Collective Action brings companies and other concerned stakeholders together to tackle shared problems of corruption, raise standards of business integrity and level the playing field between competitors.

It involves trust and a willingness to collaborate constructively. Both are often based on a sustained level of cooperation between stakeholders in the private and public sectors, civil society and international organisations.

Learn more about Collective Action and its variety of tools on the B20 Collective Action Hub, our global resource centre on anti-corruption Collective Action.

Is Collective Action always about corruption?

No. In fact, Collective Action is a common term originating in economic theory as well as a number of other fields. It refers generally to multi-stakeholder collaboration to achieve shared goals.

The concept of Collective Action has long been used to describe multi-stakeholder efforts to address issues around sharing common resources, as well as sustainability. More recently it is being applied as a means to attain the sustainable development goals. Companies are keen to identify cross-cutting approaches that address corruption and other related issues of development and social justice, such as the prevention of human rights abuses in their operations.

Our focus is on anti-corruption Collective Action by, with and for the private sector. The approach has the potential to address corruption through mechanisms that are pragmatic and solution oriented. These types of challenges almost always affect entire groups of people, business sectors or markets.

How does anti-corruption Collective Action fit into the work the Basel Institute?

Collective Action is fundamental to the Basel Institute’s wider mission to prevent and combat corruption and raise standards of governance. In fact, promoting and supporting Collective Action against corruption was a key objective of the Basel Institute when it was founded by Professor Mark Pieth in 2003.

Our team members regularly contribute their Collective Action expertise to cross-divisional projects. This is often the case when the Basel Institute is asked to support a partner country in a comprehensive manner, encompassing prevention and enforcement, and bridging public, business and other non-state actors.

What services does the Collective Action team offer?

The Basel Institute's Collective Action team offers practical, independent guidance on how to use Collective Action to promote fair competition and tackle corruption risks. We support companies, governments and civil society organisations worldwide.

Our services include:

  • A Helpdesk providing free advice on anti-corruption Collective Action.
  • A Mentoring Programme, offering hands-on support to organisations working with the private sector on corruption issues.
  • Active facilitation of Collective Action initiatives to maximise effectiveness and avoid antitrust issues.
  • Tailored advice on how to set up, structure and manage Collective Action initiatives most effectively.
  • Practical help in setting up sustainable public-private dialogue mechanisms to advocate for policy reforms.
  • Guidance and outreach to relevant partners through our network of contacts in the field.

Download a flyer about the Collective Action team and its work.

What else does the team do?

As part of our general support to Collective Action approaches, we:

  • Serve as a resource and knowledge centre on anti-corruption Collective Action initiatives and methodologies.
  • Host and maintain the B20 Collective Action Hub and its collection of initiatives and practitioner resources.
  • Host regular workshops and international conferences on Collective Action, including the 4th International Collective Action Conference in 2022.
  • Conduct research on the functioning and impact of Collective Action against corruption.
  • Regularly speak at anti-corruption compliance and policy events raising awareness of Collective Action.
  • Work with international policy institutions and national anti-corruption policy actors to promote the use of Collective Action among the private sector, including through the B20.
What are some key projects and approaches?

Projects and approaches currently receiving a lot of attention include:

You can find information about these and much more on the B20 Collective Action Hub.

What is the B20 Collective Action Hub?

The B20 Collective Action Hub is a global resource centre on anti-corruption Collective Action. It offers a range of anti-corruption publications and tools, plus a database of over 280 Collective Action initiatives and projects designed to raise standards of integrity and fair competition.

The B20 Hub was launched in 2013, following a mandate from the B20 group of business leaders for the Basel Institute to develop and maintain this hub in collaboration with our institutional partners.

All resources are freely accessible and a helpdesk function is available for users to ask specific questions.

Download a flyer about the B20 Collective Action Hub.

What is the Basel Institute's track record in Collective Action?

The Basel Institute has pioneered the Collective Action approach to combat corruption since 2003, often in partnership with like-minded organisations such as Siemens through the Siemens Integrity Initiative, Transparency International, the World Economic Forum, OECD and others.

Our work with Transparency International (and other stakeholders) involved the joint initiation of two of the early examples of international anti-corruption Collective Action, and which are still today among the most successful: the WEF Partnering Against Corruption Initiative (PACI) and the Wolfsberg Group.

We have been a key player in creating numerous initiatives in sectors including aerospace and defence, logistics, pharmaceuticals, art trade, energy and power technology. This work earned international recognition in 2013 when the Basel Institute was selected to establish the B20 Collective Action Hub in partnership (at that time) with the UN Global Compact. Since then, the Basel Institute has:

How is the Basel Institute's Collective Action work funded?

Our current and past projects have received funding from a range of private and public institutions such as the Siemens Integrity Initiative, the KBA NotaSys Fund, the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO, formerly DFID), the Global Fund to Fight Malaria, TB and AIDS, and directly from some companies engaged in Collective Action initiatives.

"Collective Action is an effective way for different stakeholders to pursue common anti-corruption goals. Contact us to find out more and see how you can join in."

Vanessa Hans

Head of Private Sector
+41 61 201 18 21

With thanks to our supporters and donors

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