Rome, 22 Nov. 2019 - The vast majority of Italian big companies did not pass BIT Business Index 2019 of Transparency International Italy. The result is shocking: global brands such as Giorgio Armani and Costa Crociere are stuck at the lowest levels of the five points scale A to E.
Figures show that 78% have insufficient or very low transparency. No one ranks in the highest category. The index measures how businesses comply with the rules on finance to political organisations, lobbying and revolving door (employees switching from public to private sector and vice versa).
In the sample of the qualitative study 100 companies selected across six sectors: manufacturing, retail, energy, services, financial, oil&gas.
A sample of 100 companies, for the most part multinationals, were asked 16 specific questions such as:
‘Do you have a public company policy that governs or prohibits financing activities to political entities?’
‘Is this policy referring to direct and indirect financing of political entities either?’
‘Does the policy refer to political parties, movements, committees, associations and foundations, parliamentarians and members of the government?’
And so forth with question on lobbying activities and revolving doors:
'Does your company publish information on its affiliation to associations and organizations that carry out lobbying activities on issues of interest to the company?'
'Does the company publish information on tasks and secondments of its employees in the public sector?'
Finance to political entities. Overall 60% of companies stated they don’t finance political organisations, “though - writes Transparency in the notes to the survey - in Italy the only contributions to political parties can come from the private sector”. Figures show 78% do not have a company policy complying with transparency.
Lobbying. In the lobbying area situation gets worse 89% did not pass the test: only 11% is scoring B and C.
Revolving doors. There is even less transparency on measures put in place by companies to prevent revolving door cases, and therefore transfers of tasks from public to private and vice versa, which could cause illicit influences on the policy. There is no information available on their policies: 97% of companies obtained an insufficient score.
The Italian branch of oil giant ESSO is grade D along with Kwait Petroleum Italy, while the iconic fashion brand Prada sadly got an E.
Samsung Electronics Italy is the class dunce of tech sector, score: E.
State TV RAI’s answers on transparency were evidently opaque: score D, but not as much blur as the ones from Berlusconi’s Fininvest of which Mediaset TVs are subsidiaries: E.
But get ready for the bottom of the barrel: banks and finance.
Banca Mediolanum, the financial group once at the center of Berlusconi’s empire legal saga, scores an E, as well as Unicredit, Unipol, Assicurazioni Generali, Banca Carige, Credito Emiliano, Dexia Crediop, Cofide...all at the bottom, and from the graphics looks like some of them haven’t even answered the questions or did not meet the basic criteria.
One notch only for the Italian plant of domestic appliances manufacturer Whirlpool, which closed the plant in Naples early this month axing 5,000 employees. Transparency and business performance: the deep interdependence employers only pay for.
Virginio Carnevali, president Transparency International Italy
Result of the Index based on answers on a five points scale A to E
“We are aware in Italy there’s no legislation in these area, despite the many attempts to introduce more transparency in the regulation on public and private sectors in the country. Therefore we could not expect positive outcomes from BIT2019” comments Transparency Italy president Virginio Carnevali.
“However, - he concedes - we are talking about the most important Italian multinationals; these have often shown their commitment to going far beyond what national law currently prescribes. In fact, they know that transparency is a key to success, and above all on certain issues the competitive advantage is pivotal both nationally and even more internationally".
"What we are trying to do with the companies of our Business Integrity Forum, while waiting for the legislator to do its duty, is in fact to innovate and stimulate them to adopt cutting-edge anti-corruption policies and practices that can be an example for all companies in the country ".
E: the letter meaning Italian corporates haven't passed transparency test