In 2016, responding to the need for a global standard to help organisations prevent and detect bribery and corruption, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) introduced ISO 37001: Anti-Bribery Management Systems. This certification provides the anti-bribery framework for organisations of any size or industry to implement practical solutions against bribery. Perhaps overlooked, however, is the fact that ISO 37001’s framework isn’t designed only for an organisation’s own internal systems. It can also be applied to existing or potential third-party partners. This adds a crucial layer of third-party due diligence and risk management in today’s world of international business.
The ISO 37001 Framework
Corporations, agencies, and even small companies don’t exist in a bubble. The reality of international trade and the interconnectedness of business make the potential for bribery and corruption a serious and continuous concern. While there are laws that govern business conduct along these lines, such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and the UK Bribery Act 2010, prior to 2016 organisations lacked a unified standard to help them implement proper controls for prevention and detection. This was a critical vulnerability, considering new laws in various jurisdictions were prescribing heavier penalties, and governments were, by and large, pursuing more enforcement actions.
Recognising this need, ISO unveiled 37001 with a twofold approach: Provide a practical, measurable system that organisations can implement to prevent and protect fraud; while keeping the system flexible and adaptable to fit any industry or jurisdiction. ISO was uniquely positioned to develop such anti-bribery framework with its reputation, having been in the standards business since 1947; and its global reach, which includes 164 member countries.
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