Even in the year 2016, corruption is still a widespread phenomenon affecting not only third world countries but industrialized states as well. According to Transparency International, not a single country in the world is free of corruption.
In its introductory sections, ISO 37001:2016 states that corruption causes various problems such as moral, economic and political issues, undermines responsible leadership, and destroys trust in institutions and the rule of law. As their necessary contribution to the fight against corruption, companies are expected to implement and maintain effective compliance programs to prevent, detect and respond to bribery and to corrupt pressures to engage in it.
On Oct 15, 2016 the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), an independent,non-governmental international organization with a membership of 163 national standards bodies, based in Geneva, Switzerland, issued ISO 37001:2016, a new anti-bribery standard that marks a milestone in the longstanding, multinational, business-protective battle against bribery.
ISO 37001:2016 is a global and cross-industry body of rules, that encourages and supports companies in implementing anti-corruption processes in their organizations. By providing an effective compliance program, ISO Standards facilitate implementation of anti-bribery management systems for both public and private organizations. ISO 37001:2016 is flexible and can be adapted to create a range of measures and controls designed to ensure discovery and prevention of bribery and corruption in various types of organizations.
ISO 37001:2016 contains:
• Anti-corruption guidelines, procedures and controls
• Leadership, commitment and responsibility by top-level management
• Supervision by management
• Anti-corruption training
• Risk assessment
• Risk evaluation (due diligence) for projects and business partners
• Reporting, monitoring, investigation, scrutiny
• Corrective measures and continuous improvement
ISO 37001:2016 has the potential to become an essential weapon in the global fight against corruption, especially for international organizations promoting an ethical business culture and wanting to send a strong signal to their investors, employees and (potential) customers. Although there is currently no legal requirement for organizations to implement the new ISO Standard, the benefits to participating enterprises outweigh any form of doubt. Apart from being auditable, the advantage for organizations following the new ISO Standards is not only the safe-guard of their reputation but also minimizes financial and liability risks connected to non-compliant behavior.