With the enactment of Law 12.846/13 (Anti-Corruption Law or Brazilian Clean Company Act) and its Regulatory Decree 8.420/15, the responsibility to combat corruption ceased to be a majority public attribution and began to be shared with private sector companies, which became allied in this process by developing more upstanding corporate environments.

As a way of seeking an environment of greater collaboration between the public and private spheres in the fight against corruption and encouraging the implementation of integrity programs, the so-called anti-corruption stamps have emerged.

Normally granted by entities of the Public Administration, the stamps recognize the adoption of integrity measures by legal entities, highlighting them for their good corporate practices of compliance.

By publicly recognizing these good practices, the Public Administration encourages preventive action of companies in relation to integrity, showing that the fight against corruption can no longer occur only by sanctioning means.

The use of positive and preventive corporate governance tools in companies fosters a more healthy corporate performance and brings benefits to the business and society as a whole.

In addition to being able to gain public recognition, a compliance program well implemented, aligned with best market practices and Brazilian anti-corruption legislation, it helps the legal entity to protect itself from risks arising from breach of integrity, mitigating risks inherent to the interaction with the Public Administration.

A compliance program  can also promote an ethical culture capable of being spread to the entire company, in addition to the third parties with whom it relates. In financial terms, the program can be a mechanism to reduce economic losses resulting, for example, from internal fraud or, even more serious, harmful acts committed against the Public Administration, which can lead to financial sanctions and reputational damages.

It is also worth noting the positive image value that the recognition of compliance initiatives can generate for legal entities and the brand itself, as an important asset for attracting clients and businesses, increased credibility in the relationship with the Public Administration and other stakeholders, such as partners and other third parties aligned with company values.

Considering the benefits of preventive action in the sphere of corporate integrity, initiatives have emerged to create regional anti-corruption stamps. In early 2022, the Supervision, Governance, Transparency and Control Committee of the Legislative Chamber of the Federal District (Comissão de Fiscalização, Governança, Transparência e Controle da Câmara Legislativa do Distrito Federal) approved the Projeto de Lei (“PL” - Draft Bill) 1.237/20, which creates an anti-corruption stamp for companies that adopt integrity programs. If approved, the PL may be one of the first local laws to create such a stamp.

At the state level, there is the PL 47/18, pending in state of Espírito Santo, which suggests the creation of an anti-corruption stamp to be granted to legal entities governed by private law that adopt good conduct practices in the state. Espírito Santo is known as one of the first states to regulate the Anti-Corruption Law and was recognized and well evaluated by organizations such as Transparency International for its anti-corruption initiatives.

In the municipal sphere, PL 722/17 of the city of São Paulo stands out, which presents a proposal for a stamp valid for two years and subject to renewal. The criterion for granting and renewing this stamp is the submission of a profile report and a compliance report to the competent body. These materials are similar to those introduced by the Office of the Comptroller General (CGU) in the evaluation of a company's integrity program as part of an Administrative Liability Proceeding (PAR) or Leniency Agreement, based on the legal basis of the recommendations contained in the items of Article 42 of Regulatory Decree 8.420/15.

Other capitals also have similar initiatives, such as PL 68/19 in Recife, which suggests the creation of an anti-corruption stamp designed to attest to the quality and integrity of companies installed in the municipality, and PL 2.741/20, in Porto Velho, which suggests the adoption of an anti-corruption stamp for companies that adopt integrity programs.

In addition to legislative proposals not yet in force, there are already options in the Brazilian market for companies that want to obtain public recognition of their efforts in the fight against corruption.

In 2010, the CGU, in a joint initiative with the Ethos Institute of Business and Social Responsibility, created the Pro-Ethics Company. The initiative was restructured in 2014 to adapt to the changes brought about by the Anti-Corruption Law. In addition to the expansion of the number of participants, the dissemination around the companies positively evaluated increased, with the granting of a specific stamp that can be used by them.

With this restructuring, the Pro-Ethics Company began to stand out in the market, receiving even international recognitions from the OAS (Organization of American States), The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The program was also awarded in the 14th edition of "Compliance & Ethics Award", award Society of Corporate Compliance & Ethics (SCCE).

The evaluation of the Pro-Ethics Company is documentary and follows a pre-established regulation, in which there are criteria for registration and guidance on filling out a Profile Analysis form and an evaluation questionnaire. Although the analysis is documentary, the judging committee, composed of public and private sector entities recognized in the business environment, can, for example, conduct tests to evaluate the whistleblower channel and conduct an electronic research with the company's employees to assess the perception about the application of the integrity program. The maximum rating is 100. To be approved and included in the list of Pro-Ethics Companies, the company must receive at least 70 points.

There are also other federal initiatives related to specific branches of business, such as Infra+Integrity Promotion Stamp, for the infrastructure sector, and the More Integrity Stamp, for agribusiness companies and agribusiness worker-owned companies. These initiatives also undergo documentary evaluations, according to a predetermined regulation and with their own criteria.

The Infra+Integrity Promotion Stamp, for example, requests the completion of a form on the compliance program, the submission of proof of signature of the Business Pact for Integrity and Against Corruption (promoted by the Ethos Institute), among other requirements contained in Ordinance 127/21 of the Ministry of Infrastructure. There are also social responsibility requirements, such as proof of "nothing on record" from the Dirty List of Slave Or Slave Labor, and negative criminal and negative certificates of environmental debts.

The More Integrity Stamp follows the ESG trend and provides for the joint evaluation of three dimensions – anti-corruption, labor and sustainability – also with specific documentary requirements to be presented by the participating legal entities. A brand use manual guides the awarded company through the visual identity of the three stamps to be used by positively evaluated companies:

  • Green Stamp – First Award;
  • Yellow Stamp – Renewal;
  • More Integrity Stamp – Special Version, for companies and agribusiness worker-owned companies awarded with the More Integrity Of MAPA Stamp and the Pro-Ethics Company Stamp.

Although these stamps, for the most part, recognize only the existence of integrity practices in a documentary manner, without evaluation on site or an analysis of the effectiveness of such initiatives, the requirements for their granting are detailed and oriented to contribute to the installation of effective compliance mechanisms for legal entities.

Considering the technical stringent and robustness of ISO standards, companies can also opt for certification in specific ISOs related to integrity, especially ISO 37001, anti-bribery management, and the latest ISO 37301, compliance management.

In the always positive exercise of implementing good practices, companies that aim to recognize their compliance initiatives must first of all understand what their day-to-day needs are. This can be done, for example, by conducting a gap analysis, which helps to decide which type of recognition available is the most appropriate for the business, without losing sight of the possibilities that may arise in the market or even by legislative initiative.

It is important to note that an anti-corruption stamp is only a consequence of the controls and policies previously implemented in the company as part of effective integrity practices, whose main objective is to implement or improve a compliance program so that the company reaps the rewards of effective actions and not merely pro forma.

Formal recognition can be facilitated after the company has mapped and addressed its specific risks, improved its internal controls and initiatives, and adequately appropriated its internal structure of compliance and its operation for a possible evaluation. The reputational benefit of obtaining the anti-corruption stamp after this effort will be driven by the effective benefit that a robust compliance program can go into business.