Big Four firm EY one of many businesses with poor lobbying transparency

Big Four firm EY one of many businesses with poor lobbying transparency

Four in five global companies are ranked as having 'poor standards' of transparency according to a new anti-corruption agency report

Big Four firm EY one of many businesses with poor lobbying transparency

A new index following secrecy in corporate lobbying has found EY to be one of the worst offenders in terms of being transparent.

It shares this status with the likes of Chinese phone company Huawei, entertainment company Disney, digger maker JCB, and car manufacturers Toyota, Honda, Ford, and Nissan.

All these businesses received a band F in the Corporate Political Engagement Index, meaning they had the worst standards when it came to lobbying transparency.

Any band F company are classified as demonstrating “very poor standards” in transparency and there is “scope to improve in all areas”. An immediate review of these results has been recommended.

The investigation actually found four in five multinational companies are classed as having ‘poor standards’ of transparency.

Carried out by the UK element of Transparency International, which campaigns against corruption, the study looked at a total of 104 global companies and found they were not up to standard in sharing their lobbying activities.

What other businesses were involved?

None of the companies looked at in the investigation actually reported what they spent worldwide on political lobbying last year.

The only company to achieve a band A when analysed was GlaxoSmithKline, the pharmaceuticals business.

KPMG was awarded the highest band for transparency. They achieved band C, showing “fair standards”.

EY’s fellow big four competitors PwC and Deloitte both fell into band D, meaning their standards of transparency were classed as “fairly poor”.

Overall, the Big Four achieved an average score of 35 percent transparency.

Many of the big tech companies, including Google, Facebook, and Amazon, also had a poor rating when it came to sharing lobbying activities.

This comes at a time when tech businesses around the world are facing special taxes, an initiative which has already been introduced in the UK, Spain, and Italy.

Why lack of transparency?

The global index report shoved part of the blame for such bad transparency on the idea of the “revolving door” in most of these businesses.

The term refers to people working in government and moving across to business, often not spending enough time out between jobs to not take interests with them into their private sector roles.

Research shows that almost all, 97 out of 104, of the businesses analysed could be criticised for allowing this to happen.

This problem is widespread and worldwide. According to the report, author Mark Leibovich found that in 2012, 50 percent of all retired US congressmen went into lobbying while only three percent had done this in 1974.

Having been approached for explanations and data, nearly a third of these businesses made changes to their political engagement policies while many more made a pledge to do this.

Transparency International have said they will review the situation twice a year going forwards.

Kathryn Higgs, director of Transparency International’s UK business integrity programme told The Guardian: “Companies are increasingly realising that transparency [on lobbying] is the future”.

A spokeswoman from the government told The Guardian: “Since 2010, the UK has been at the forefront of opening up data to allow parliament, the public, and the media to hold public bodies to account.

“The government openly publishes details of ministers’ external meetings on a quarterly basis.

“Transparency is crucial for accountability, delivering the best value for money, cutting waste and inefficiency and ensuring every pound of taxpayers’ money is spent in the best possible way.”

 

 

 

 

 

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