As shock-waves from the Panama Papers continue to reverberate around the world, two B Team companies, Brazilian cosmetics company, Natura Cosmeticos, working with our partners Open Corporates, and global fast-moving consumer goods company, Unilever, are leading by example on corporate transparency. Today these two companies released the details of their company ownership in open, structured data.
Company ownership is often obscured by complex webs of anonymous shell companies, as highlighted by the Panama Papers. While legal, these anonymous companies can be used for money laundering, bribery, sanction avoidance, tax evasion, and financing terrorism. At a minimum these actions deprive governments of much-needed revenue to support social systems like healthcare and education. At their worst, they can end up as vehicles to finance activities that cause extreme human suffering through support for harmful regimes or acts of terrorism.
Transparent company ownership which reduces corruption is also good for business. It ensures fair competition in markets, reduces the costs of compliance and enables companies to know who they are doing business with, reducing the risk of fraud, failed investments, and dealings with politically exposed persons.
We are working to end anonymous companies and recently announced plans for a global register of beneficial ownership.
**UPDATED** April 3, 2017 – the world’s first global, public register of company ownership information has launched. You can explore it here www.openownership.com.