ISO 37001: A Game Changer in Global Anti-Bribery Efforts?


On December 9, International Anti-Corruption Day, the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) in partnership with the Association of Women in International Trade (WIIT), co-hosted a panel discussion on the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 37001, a new standard on anti-bribery management systems designed to help organizations fight bribery and promote an ethical business culture. The panel, moderated by CIPE Regional Director for Asia John Morrell, consisted of Worth MacMurray, Principal at Governance and Compliance Initiatives, Shruti Shah, Vice President of Programs and Operations at Transparency International-USA and Jesse Spiro, WorldCheck Research Manager at Thomson Reuters.

After brief opening remarks from WIIT President Evelyn Suarez, Morrell started the event by highlighting CIPE’s work in combating the institutional side of bribery and corruption. The discussion began with MacMurray, who worked on the new standard, giving an overview of the ISO 37001. The ISO 37001 is meant to be widely applicable to all organizations of any size in the public, private or not-for-profit sectors. The standard requires organizations to implement a series of measures such as adopting an anti-bribery policy, selecting someone to oversee compliance with that policy, implementing financial controls, and adopting reporting and investigation procedures. In addition, the ISO 37001 will also offer the opportunity for external certification and organizations that receive an ISO 37001 certification will potentially have an advantage against competitors that do not have the qualification. The certification will offer an independent validation of the organization’s anti-corruption and compliance program, which in turn will help external stakeholders view the organization as ethical. Overall, the new standard aims to reduce the risk of bribery occurring in a given organization by putting into place internationally recognized best-practice anti-bribery controls.

Following the overview of the ISO 37001, the panelists discussed whether the standard will become the new international benchmark for doing business with integrity. Considering this, the panelists talked about the benefits and the limitations that the ISO 37001 provides. Following the panel discussion, members of the audience were able to ask questions and engage in dialogue with the panelists. The audience questions covered topics such as the ISO 37001 certification process, incentives for businesses to adopt compliance standards, judicial corruption and sextortion.

Listen to the full discussion here.

Amol Nadkarni is Program Assistant for Global Programs at CIPE