Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity/Trustees of Columbia University

The Maritime Anti-Corruption Network: a model for public-private cooperation against graft

Firms operating in global markets often face systemic corruption issues, such as frequent demands for operational facilitation payments (“grease payments”), sometimes paired with extortion and shakedowns. Many anti-bribery regimes prohibit such payments and the OECD has decried the “corrosive effect of small facilitation payments, particularly on sustainable development and the rule of law.” However, any firm that sets an internal policy against such payments risks being snubbed by government officials in certain markets where facilitation payments are expected. Scholars call this a “collective action problem,” in which the incentives motivating individual firms or government agents toward selfish behavior are misaligned with the best policies for the whole sector.

Companies need a way to join forces, share information and approaches, and engage governments and civil society, without threatening their own competitive advantage and freedom to operate. However, differences in styles, agendas, timeframes, and approaches make it hard for these potential partners to move in lockstep to harmonize policies and undertake meaningful change. Corporate disclosure and liability can pose particularly knotty legal challenges.

The Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN) took an innovative approach to drive collective action against entrenched corruption in the maritime sector. Public integrity practitioners confronting collective-action challenges in other sectors and regions may learn from the MACN’s unique model, which integrates both “supply-side” (bribe payer) and “demand-side” (bribe recipient) approaches to corruption prevention.


01/2017 (6 years ago)


Related publications


Engaging the private sector in Collective Action against corruption

2022 | Basel Institute on Governance

Scarlet Wannenwetsch
corruption prevention

Siemens Integrity Initiative Annual Report 2021

2022 | Siemens AG

Case study, Report

Doing Business With Integrity: Stories from SMEs in Europe and Eurasia

2022 | CIPE Europe & Eurasia and CIPE Center for Accountable Investment


Is Collective Action against corruption a competition risk for companies? - from Perspectives on Antitrust Compliance

2022 | Concurrences in collaboration with the International Chamber of Commerce

Gemma Aiolfi, Cecilia Müller…


Integrity pacts in the EU: Suitability, set up, and implementation

2022 | Transparency International

Rafael García Aceves


Anticorruption Guidance for Partners of State-Owned Enterprises

2022 | Natural Resource Governance Institute

state-owned enterprisesanti-corruption complianceanti-bribery measuresnatural resource managementdue diligence


Papering over cracks or building stronger systems together? Financial crime in the context of covid-19

2021 | Basel Institute on Governance


Policy on Responsible Investing 2022 – CDC Group (British International Investment)

2021 | CDC Group (British International Investment)

Policy brief

Policy Brief 8: It takes a network to defeat a network – What Collective Action practitioners can learn from research into corrupt networks

2021 | Basel Institute on Governance

Claudia Baez Camargo, Jacopo Costa, Vanessa Hans, Lucy Koechlin, Scarlet Wannenwetsch
informal networksprivate-sector corruptionanti-corruption evidencemulti-stakeholder initiativesCollective Action Initiativeinformal governance


B20 Italy Integrity and Compliance Policy Paper 2021

2021 | B20 Italy

business integrity


Recommendation of the Council for OECD Further Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions (2021 Anti-Bribery Recommendation)

2021 | Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

United Nations Global Compact: Communication on Engagement 2021

2021 | Basel Institute on Governance

UN Global Compact


Input for the Roadmap for the next decade - Building blocks for realizing UNGPs implementation toward 2030

2021 | Institute of Employers (IOE), Business at OECD (BIAC), BusinessEurope


B20 Integrity and Compliance Task Force – Key Reflections and Suggestions from Members

2021 | The B Team; World Economic Forum Partnering Against Corruption Initiative



Key developments in mandatory human rights due diligence and supply chain law: Considerations for employers

2021 | International Organisation of Employers (IoE), Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS)

anti-corruption compliance

Annual report

Annual Report 2020

2021 | Basel Institute on Governance


Beneficial ownership transparency – a GCFCC position paper

2021 | Global Coalition to Fight Financial Crime (GCFFC)


Siemens Integrity Initiative Annual Report 2020

2021 | Siemens AG


UNGASS 2021 Political Declaration

2021 | United Nations


Guidelines, Report

Uniting against Corruption: A Playbook on Anti-Corruption Collective Action

2021 | United Nations Global Compact