Will #PanamaPapers prepare the ground for #LevelPlayingField?

With global corporations and profiled executives across all industries and more than 200 countries exposed in a media case that makes WikiLeaks appear small, we can surely expect that as today’s insights causes earthquakes and crisis mode among governments and companies, many should probably prepare for tsunami conditions the coming weeks.

Business has already seen a high increase in costs and risks/impact related to both environmental and ethical performance the past decade. Failing to comply with these factors is something I think will hit many actors much harder in the years to come. International state leaders are already targeting the tax havens, pursuing their rightful share of taxable profits, and I assume the involvement of so many prominent leaders will only have to kick this focus further up on the agenda. 

Swizz banks had to adapt to a changing terrain some years ago, and the digital age of connectivity and social media basically means that we will need to behave better than before. What we do, google, say, transfer, exchange or buy, can under the right circumstances be exposed. So why not start being open and make sure that anything we do is fit for such a reality.

A Panama delegation I met last December in South Korea claimed that the “tax haven” days of Panama were about to end, as the U.S. trade agreement from 2,5 years ago requires more transparency. With the WikiLeaks, SwizzLeaks, Panama Papers as appetizers, leaders and businesses should make sure to realize that the main course will probably consist of a much bigger portion of the same. And that the 3-course dinners of tomorrow are composed under the themes “Transparency” and “Accountability”. 

Surely, this to some must feel like having a black swan gate-crashing their party. But in fact, this is definitely a black elephant – its been in the room for ages, and people should have known the risks by now, but somehow chose to keep their blinders on.

In a global world, we need to make sure that we somehow play by the same rulebook. Hopefully this major shocker can be positive in the long-term, motivating business to raise the standards and practice, and bringing us some good steps closer towards a level playing field.

2016 definitely has proven to be a year of shocking events so far. Will look forward to read and learn more about the next updates from the #PanamaPapers!

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