Caption: Fernanda Beraldi presents a paper on the need for transparency in purchase agreements with governments at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Integrity Forum in Paris in March.
AS TRANSACTIONS BETWEEN GLOBAL BUSINESSES AND GOVERNMENTS AROUND THE WORLD BECOME INCREASINGLY COMPLEX, CUMMINS DIRECTOR FOR INTERNATIONAL ETHICS AND COMPLIANCE FERNANDA BERALDI SAYS TRANSPARENCY IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER.
“Transparency in government bids and industrial compensation is critical to improving international anti-corruption regulations,” said Beraldi, whose paper on the topic was one of only 24 selected for presentation at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) Integrity Forum in Paris. “The growing practice of including offsets or side agreements that might have little to do with the main elements of a purchase agreement creates the potential for ethical problems.”
Government ministers, business leaders and others from more than 40 countries that are part of the OECD gathered in Paris March 30-31 to discuss the significant integrity and trust challenges facing the world today. The Integrity Forum is increasingly recognized as one of the few places tackling global policy concerns in the ethics and compliance arena from a multidisciplinary perspective.
Offsets, the subject of Beraldi’s paper, are becoming more common in government contracts. They can range from side agreements where a company selling a product agrees to help a government with credit assistance or technology transfers as part of the deal to one instance where investing in a shrimp farm was part of a defense contract.
Beraldi, who is also a Corporate Counsel at the company, said the potential for abuse grows significantly in smaller countries where governments may not have enough people to adequately discourage or discover unethical behavior. She hopes her paper will spur additional conversation and ultimately action on the issue.
“It was an honor to be selected to present,” Beraldi said. “I think Cummins’ presence at the forum demonstrates that we are at the forefront of finding solutions for corruption and integrity issues world- wide.”
Fighting corruption is not the only ethics issue Cummins and Beraldi are engaged in outside the company. Beraldi also co-authored a paper on fighting human trafficking titled “No Good Deed Goes Unpunished? Possible Unintended Consequences of Supply Chain Transparency.”
Her paper, which deals with human trafficking in supply chains and how companies can still get into trouble if they merely follow existing regulations, was presented at the Winter Conference of the American Society of International Law, an institution that promotes the use of international law as a cornerstone of a just and peaceful world.
Mark Sifferlen, Vice President – Ethics and Compliance at Cummins, said the company applauds Beraldi’s work both inside and outside Cummins.
“Both Our Code of Business Conduct and our Supplier Code of Conduct take a strong stand against corruption and human trafficking,” Sifferlen said. “Fernanda’s work demonstrates the depth of our commitment in these important areas.”