ISO 37001:2016 The New Standard for Anti-bribery Management System

November 24, 2016 Harsheenee Doorga-Aujayeb

Organizations seeking better visibility of their business partners’ anti-bribery management systems will soon have a new tool to leverage. The ISO 37001 anti-bribery management system standard, was released October 15 2016. Organizations doing business worldwide, especially in emerging markets, can now add this internationally recognized standard to enhance their control systems in order to remain compliant with key laws with international reach.


The fight against bribery has taken unprecedented leap in the last few decades. Companies find themselves exposed to greater risks when operating globally, and law enforcement is responding by extending the legal authority in order to respond to these risks. Record FCPA fines are increasing year on year, and two years ago the U.S. Justice Department made it clear that individual liability will increase in order to combat bribery. Operationally, the greatest challenge is now managing risks related to business partnerships, which requires effective due diligence methods including on-going monitoring of third-parties. Both the FCPA and the UK Bribery Act require companies to monitor their third party relationships in order to avoid civil and criminal liability. Mandatory third-party due diligence will likely be included in future anti-bribery legislation, such as in France’s Sapin II law.


Why should companies consider becoming ISO 37001 certified?

1. The standard serves as a guide for developing a robust anti-bribery management system that is aligned with legal requirements (e.g. federal sentencing guidelines etc.)
2. Certified organizations are able to assure to its stakeholders that they are serious, and taking appropriate actions, to combat bribery
3. Can serve as evidence (for e.g. in case of investigation) to support the fact that the company has indeed taken actions with regards to prevention of bribery


What does the ISO 37001 standard cover?

The management system is comprised of a series of measures and controls implemented in a reasonable and proportionate manner to help prevent, detect, and deal with bribery, including:

• Anti-bribery policy
• Management leadership, commitment and responsibility
• Personnel controls and training
• Risk assessments
• Due diligence on projects and business associates
• Financial, commercial and contractual controls
• Reporting, monitoring, investigation and review
• Corrective action and continual improvement

(Source: International Organisation for Standardisation website)


EcoVadis and ISO 37001:2016

EcoVadis assesses supplier CSR risks using 21 criteria covering environment, labor & human rights, business ethics and sustainable procurement. Given that certificates, including the ISO 37001 standard, provide an additional assurance that suppliers are committed to managing their businesses responsibly, EcoVadis integrates internationally recognized certifications into assessments. The EcoVadis scorecard highlights suppliers that have implemented ISO 37001, thereby enabling buyers to focus their enhanced third-party due diligence effectively while curbing costs.


Authors: Harsheenee Doorga-Aujayeb & Michael Smith

CSR Analysts at EcoVadis

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