RESTON, Va.—The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) adopted an amendment to its 92-year-old Code of Ethics that further expanded its zero tolerance policy for bribery and corruption. The ASCE also committed to publicizing these new guidelines among other construction industry organizations in the United States and to encouraging the 67 civil engineering organizations worldwide with which it has cooperation agreements to adopt similar guidelines.

According to the ASCE, $400 million, or 10 percent, of the estimated $4 trillion spent annually for engineering and construction worldwide is lost to corrupt activities. "Engineers have an ethical obligation to take a stand against corruption in all its forms, because not only do bribery and corruption have a high economic cost, but they also have an equally high human cost," said ASCE Past President William P. Henry, P.E., F.ASCE. "Reducing corruption will directly result in additional financial resources available to improve the welfare of the world’s population and quality of life."

The new guidelines were amended to Cannon 6 of the ASCE’s Code of Ethics, which states that "Engineers shall act in such a manner as to uphold and enhance the honor, integrity, and dignity of the engineering profession and shall act with zero-tolerance for bribery, fraud, and corruption." The guidelines also call for engineers to do the following:

  • not knowingly engage in business or professional practices of a fraudulent, dishonest, or unethical nature;
  • be scrupulously honest in their control and spending of monies, and promote effective use of resources through open, honest, and impartial service with fidelity to the public, employers, associates, and clients;
  • act with zero-tolerance for bribery, fraud, and corruption in all engineering or construction activities in which they are engaged;
  • be especially vigilant in maintaining appropriate ethical behavior where payments of gratuities or bribes are institutionalized practices;
  • strive for transparency in the procurement and execution of projects, including disclosure of names, addresses, purposes, and fees or commissions paid for all agents facilitating projects; and
  • encourage the use of certifications specifying zero-tolerance for bribery, fraud, and corruption in all contracts.