Current news and views about ISO 37001 anti-bribery standard

Bribery punishes innocents and poisons whole communities. It especially cheats young people of a fair chance at a better life. Adoption of ISO 37001 Anti-bribery management systems, a new global business standard to combat bribery, will bring economic benefits now and for future generations.

ISO 37001: Fighting Bribery & Corruption,
Promoting International Business & Opportunity for Future Generations

If you work in international business and development, you know the challenges of entering new markets and trying to understand the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). For years, how the US Department of Justice (DoJ) interprets the FCPA reminds one of former Justice Potter Stewart's definition of obscenity: "I know it when I see it." What many may not see are the secondary effects of bribery and corruption that cheat future generations of a fair chance at a better life.

New Generation Foundation launched the Initiative to advance the promise of ISO-37001, a new business standard and management systems tool adopted by the International Organization for Standardization ("ISO") after years of work by over 60 countries. The diverse U.S. ISO 37001 advisory group to ISO included Microsoft, Transparency International, Boeing, Governance & Compliance Initiatives, CREATe, and Deloitte.

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Like navigating a gator-infested swamp, FCPA pitfalls – real or imagined – can lurk anywhere in the business cycle. Potential liability can result from the actions of agents, business partners, family, or well-meaning friends. ISO 37001 offers tools to help inoculate against FCPA hazards while providing competitive advantages to help grow markets and revenues.

  • ISO 37001 adoption by the private sector (internally and through the supply chain) and the public sector (in procurement) will reduce bribery risk and lower costs.
  • For many, a voluntary "front end" ounce of preventionin the form of an ISO 37001 review beats a mandatory ten pounds of cure – "back end" scrutiny if the US DoJ initiates an investigation under the FCPA.
  • ISO 37001 certification provides an effective way for companies to monitor and verify the activities of their suppliers.
  • ISO 37001 includes a number of internal business management processes that can lead to compliance stream-lining and cost-cutting.
  • In a bid process, being ISO 37001 compliant is competitive advantage over those who are not.

ISO 37001 is designed "to instill an anti-bribery culture within an organization and implement appropriate controls, which will in turn increase the chance of detecting bribery and reduce its incidence in the first place." With ISO 37001, US businesses have tangible tools and a sense of order to understand and organize internal processes to address potential FCPA concerns. Third parties can certify an organization’s compliance with the standard in the same way they do for other ISO standards such as ISO 9001. The certification process is not simple – but once accomplished, certification limits FCPA downside risk and dramatically opens upside business growth potential.

*"[Justice Department FCPA] guidance fails to assure the business community that the agencies will give sufficient weight to strong compliance programs, falls short of clearly defining who is a 'foreign official,' and introduces new uncertainty with respect to the agencies’ expectations in the wake of a merger or acquisition. Furthermore, the [FCPA Guidance] ... does not illustrate, through examples or hypotheticals, the level of due diligence expected when businesses hire outside vendors and contractors to engage in foreign markets." — US Chamber of Commerce Letter to US Department of Justice, 2013

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Who is Adopting / Implementing ISO 37001?

Private businesses that have taken steps to implement ISO 37001 include Microsoft and Walmart. Notable governments and governmental agencies that have begun implementing ISO 37001 include Peru, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates; the City of Montreal, Canada, and the City of Shenzhen, China.

A range of ISO 37001 adoption models are possible — from full certification by an accredited certifying body, to a compliance audit by an independent third party without certification, to self-certification, or simply to the internal use of the ISO 37001 standard to help shape business practices.

In the United States, professional firms are in the process of becoming accredited to certify organizations of all types, including small and medium size enterprises (SMEs), large companies, governmental agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other organizations. US-based certifying bodies are expected to be accredited in early 2018. Certain European countries' accreditation bodies are already accrediting ISO 37001 certifying bodies.

Through gap assessments that identify missing or non-conforming ISO 37001 components, many companies have already begun compliance audits, either using internal audit or outside professionals, to prepare for ISO 37001 certification.

The Initiative is sponsored by: [ SPONSOR LINKED LOGO BELOW ]


How Does One Get Started with ISO 37001?

Beyond the moral imperative of fighting bribery and corruption, there are substantial benefits that will accrue to companies and government institutions that embrace ISO 37001 management systems, with increasing levels of resource commitment paying dividends in increasing benefits.

  • For companies, getting started can be as easy as a simple in-house executive level discussion, hosted by a legal/risk management officer, to understand what ISO 37001 is. That discussion should demonstrate areas of cost-savings and competitive advantages from adopting, over time, ISO 37001 systems and becoming less of a US FCPA/bribery risk.
  • For both national and local governments, the task of embracing ISO 37001 as an operational standard should be delegated to a senior management and budget official who will best understand the benefits of greater transparency, efficiency, and positive positioning to global financial institutions and private businesses looking to invest in-country.

Compare the costs and benefits of implementing ISO 37001

The Initiative is sponsored by: [ SPONSOR LINKED LOGO BELOW ]


About the Initiative (i3)

The Initiative is a non-profit education and communications effort focused on ISO 37001, primarily through Our mission is to promote broad and rapid global adoption of ISO 37001 to combat bribery — with economic benefits both now and for future generations. The Initiative is a project of the New Generation Foundation, which is a tax exempt organization to which contributions are tax deductible under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Contact us via e-mail

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