Ownership Transparency

Year: 
2017
Collective Action Type: 
Declarations/Joint Activities
Members: 

Deloitte, Bank of Montreal, Thompson Reuters

Description: 

The online ownership transparency platform, provides a clear framework for companies wishing to commit to achieving ownership transparency.

Origins: 

From our work activating business around the G20 and London Anti-Corruption Summit, it became clear that business voices calling for change alongside civil society could have an influence, particularly when backed up by concrete leadership. Our assessment from the workshop series was that we needed to play a more active role in translating information about beneficial ownership to a business audience and providing a clear framework for companies and investors to take action. Our objective was to develop a platform that could showcase an increasing number of stories of business leadership, and that we and our partners and allies could use to demonstrate business support for change to governments. 

With this in mind, The B Team managed the conception and development of www.ownershiptransparency.com working with partners at Bank of Montreal, Thomson Reuters and Deloitte. Deloitte Digital did the technical build and The B Team took the lead on drafting content on company actions and company case studies, while also gathering additional content from partners. A key feature of the site is the ability of a company to express interest in a commitment - which then triggers a direct engagement process by the Governance and Transparency Manager. To date, there have been over 60 commitments made.

Membership organization structure: 

Informally organised membership.

Is the collective action initiative open to other companies?: 
Yes
How can they join?: 
Looking to expand private sector involvement in this collective action. 
 We encourage all companies and partners to use the site to inform their own leadership on beneficial ownership transparency and to share this resource through their networks. The site enables people to sign up for updates or to express their interest in making commitments to lead on this issue.
Goal(s): 
  • Highlight business leadership in ownership transparency.
  • Provide practical guidance to business on how to increase transparency within their businesses and through their supply chains as well as guidance for investors to make responsible investment decisions and safeguard investment risks through beneficial ownership transparency.
  • Provide frequent updates on current news, legislation, and company action on beneficial ownership transparency.
  • Create a network of business support around ownership transparency.
Frequency of meetings: 
Monthly
Convenor of meetings: 
B Team
Strengths, weaknesses, lessons learned: 

The introduction of the platform of www.ownershiptransparency.com has increased our ability to do broader and deeper outreach with companies. It provides a clear framework for presenting to groups of companies at events and in webinars, and for direct engagement with individual companies. The website does not in any way replace the direct engagement process but does create new points of entry, attracts new companies and brings consistency to our engagement process. We’ve also found that the website engages with an SME audience that we have insufficiently engaged with to date, and which is a key constituency for demonstrating that SMEs can easily and proudly disclose their beneficial ownership without any undue burden.

In addition to benefitting our outreach we have had feedback from partners that the website has supported their ongoing engagement with business – for example, Global Witness have been using it in their work with investors.

Going forward, we will continue to update and improve the site, particularly to build out additional case studies of company leadership as well as adding interactive features to the map of government progress. 

Evaluation by stakeholders: 

Primary users of the platform include a mix of SMEs, multinational businesses and civil society, with the majority of commitments coming from SMEs, often with a tech focus. The B Team is providing guidance to these businesses in realising their commitments. While we do not expect large multinational corporations to sign up to commitments on the site due to the complexity of sign off, we will leverage the site to establish contact with a broad group of companies and engage them directly on these issues.

Between December 1, 2016 - February 25, 2017 there were 2,333 unique visits (by different people) to the site, with over 60 commitments made and 94 businesses signing up to join the ownershiptransparency.com community  to stay informed (the full newsletter list incorporating people who have attended events on ownership transparency is currently at 326 people).

Geographical scope of the initiative:: 
Global
Date of signature: 
April 2017
Date of review or update: 
April 2017
Are you aware of any (academic) literature, blogs or other commentaries discussing or referencing the initiative?: 
Ownershiptransparency.com was featured in the International Anti-Corruption Conference newsletter received by 10k + subscribers.Partners including Paul Polman, Sharan Burrow, ITUC, The Abraaj Group, Bob Collymore, Safaricom LTD, the Business and Sustainable Development Commission, Transparency International, ONE Campaign, 
 Thomson Reuters, Instituto Arapyau (Brasil), Global Financial Integrity, Deloitte, BMO, The Mo Ibrahim Foundation shared the animated video and other content on social media. The website launch was highlighted by various organisations and networks including a blog by Global Witness and included in newsletters and news briefings by FACT coalition, Tax Justice Network, SustMeme Magazine and the WorldNews Network, and promoted by Emerging Entrepreneurs (Canada) and TJN-USA. The website will also be profiled in the 2017 Policy Paper by the B20 and on the B20 Collective Action Hub. 
Countries of operation: 
Array (HQ) — Global
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/deed.en
Global: 
Yes
Siemens Initiative: