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Logistics companies risk UK bribery prosecution

Follow @WDMEllaCopeland A number of the worlds biggest logistics companies are putting themselves and their customers at risk of prosecution under UK b...

Freddie Pierce
|Aug 7|magazine6 min read

 A number of the world’s biggest logistics companies are putting themselves and their customers at risk of prosecution under UK bribery laws, according to research by business ethics consultants GoodCorporation.

Findings display that a number of big logistics groups are breaking the law by failing to publish a complete draft of anti-corruption policies. Only two in three big logistics groups have publically outlined their approach to fighting bribery, and half have made no statement on illegal ‘facilitation payments’, which are often used to speed deliveries through customs.

Major companies

The logistics sector is particularly exposed to UK laws, which came into effect in July last year. These laws extend the range of parties vulnerable to prosecution.

Companies using the likes of DHL, FedEx and United Parcel Service may now be vulnerable to prosecution, so are likely to ask their logistics providers for assurances that the appropriate anti-corruption measures are in place.

 “You have to do due diligence on partners, and logistics companies often don’t have the very basic documents,” explained Michael Littlechild, founder and director of GoodCorporation, in an interview with The Financial Times.

Prison sentence

The UK has a particularly strong law in relation to corruption within companies. Companies that cannot demonstrate that they have ‘adequate procedures’ to stamp out corruption throughout their organisations could face unlimited fees and up to a ten year prison sentence, along with prosecutions to their customers.  According to Littlechild, the logistical industry has not performed as fast as other sectors to respond in time to the UK laws.

“I would be astonished if you found even one of the top 30 energy companies that didn’t have a code of ethics,” said Mr Littlechild. “Logistics groups are worried about this gumming up their works and so they’re resisting putting them into place.”