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Al-Mady: Corruption major obstacle to economic growth

Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) has registered its strong concerns over corruption prevailing in today’s global business environment and expressed its fullest cooperation in the efforts of the Kingdom and its private sector in adopting world-class anti-corruption policies and best practices.
“Corruption poses a serious threat to the development of sustainable business enterprise and is a major obstacle toward economic growth,” Mohamed Al-Mady, SABIC vice chairman and CEO, said in his address at the Forum on Best Practices for Protecting Integrity in Business and Combating Corruption in Riyadh Sunday.
The event was organized by Saudi Arabia’s National Anti-Corruption Commission (Nazaha) and the Pearl Initiative, a non-profit organization and developed in cooperation with the United Nations Office for Partnership.
Addressing a gathering of government representatives, delegates from state-owned enterprises and executives from global companies, Al-Mady said that SABIC could offer guidance to other companies by sharing its anti-corruption methodologies under its business compliance programs.
“SABIC believes that business compliance programs can serve as models for others. By sharing our anti-corruption procedures, we intend to lead by example. Furthermore, we can offer suggestions and guidance to others who are new to this area, to make their journey easier. We will endeavor to support the efforts of companies in the Kingdom in achieving world-class anti-corruption processes and procedures.”
SABIC has constantly been engaged in anti-corruption activities and has pledged to continue to support Nazaha’s efforts to fight the menace head-on. In a 2013 report assessing the corporate anti-corruption and reporting practices of 100 large multinational companies from emerging markets, Transparency International has ranked SABIC 11 out of 100 companies in overall score and first among Middle Eastern companies. It shared third place ranking in “reporting on anti-corruption programs” and in “organizational transparency.”
Al-Mady added: “This ranking demonstrates our keen interest in developing and maintaining an anti-corruption mindset within our company. We are members of the World Economic Forum’s Partnering Against Corruption Initiative, the B20 Task Force on Improving Transparency and Anti-Corruption and the UN Global Compact. These engagements give us a seat at the table as policy decisions are made and allow us to fine-tune our internal compliance program based upon benchmarking with other global companies who are members of these groups. It makes our commitment to fight corruption visible to customers, employees and governments,” he noted.
Dwelling on the global nature of the challenge, Al-Mady said: “Your actions in one country can have profound implications for your business throughout the world. The inappropriate actions of one employee or group of employees in one place can reverberate through the business elsewhere… Regardless of where your business is located, companies need to adopt policies that meet the major standards across the world.”
Al-Mady stated that companies cannot afford to waste capital on unproductive activities. “Simply stated, bribery is an unproductive and unethical activity that diminishes your ability to compete. Neither your shareholders nor your customers want to be associated with unethical and costly business practices.”
SABIC ranks among the world’s top petrochemical companies. The company is among the world’s market leaders in the production of polyethylene, polypropylene and other advanced thermoplastics, glycols, methanol and fertilizers.
SABIC recorded a net profit of SR24.72 billion ($ 6.59 billion) in 2012; sales revenues for 2012 totaled SR189 billion ($50.40 billion); and total assets stood at SR338 billion ($90.13 billion) at the end of 2012.