As organizations of all sizes prepare for a fresh start in the new year, they are looking to prioritize a culture of transparency and integrity to succeed. A 2021 handbook published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), provides guidance for companies to put in place an effective anti-bribery management system in accordance with the standard, ISO 37001:2016, Anti-bribery Management Systems - Requirements With Guidance For Use. ANSI recently spoke with Leslie Benton, J.D., vice president at Ethisphere.
Ms. Benton was an integral member of the U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to ISO Project Committee (PC) 278, Anti-Bribery Management Systems, which developed ISO 37001, and is the current officer of the U.S. TAG Project Committee to ISO TC 309, succeeding Judd Hesselroth of Microsoft, who recently retired, which worked on development of a handbook to support the standard.
Organizational Insights Reveal Corruption is a Risk, and Integrity is a Priority
A new study by Kroll, a corporate investigations and risk consulting firm, entitled “2021 Anti-Bribery and Corruption Benchmarking Report,” found that globally, 78% of survey respondents representing 200 senior compliance and risk professionals from around the world said their organization is meaningfully committed to a culture of integrity. The study reveals that culture is now accepted in the compliance community as “the bridge between what an organization defines as ethical workplace conduct and what happens in reality.”
Providing more insights and statistics, the World Economic Forum addresses how corruption is a costly issue that requires transnational and multi-sectoral solutions.
As part of the effort to combat corruption, the 2021 handbook, ISO 37001:2016 – Anti-bribery management systems – A practical guide, was published to assist users of the standard by providing detailed guidance and advice about the standard and how they can implement it to address bribery. Published in May, the handbook features examples on how the standard’s requirements can be met, supported by a number of case studies, comparisons with other internationally recognized anti-bribery tools, and a list of supplementary documents that may be helpful.
ISO 37001:16 provides organizations of all types guidance to “prevent, detect and address bribery by adopting an anti-bribery policy, appointing a person to oversee anti-bribery compliance, training, risk assessments and due diligence on projects and business associates, implementing financial and commercial controls, and instituting reporting and investigation procedures.”
Ms. Benton provided more insights on how the handbook came to fruition:
ANSI: What were the goals of TC 309 in developing the handbook?
LB: We felt that the handbook would help companies understand how to implement the standard and would give some added color to the guidance that we included with the published standard. There have been numerous efforts to develop guidance to help organizations comply with ever- increasing regulatory requirements. The guidance brings practical experience from the business community on compliance best practices.
The standard itself will undergo its 5-year review in 2022, and if changes are made, I would expect that the handbook will be adapted accordingly.
ANSI: What types of subject matter experts from the U.S. TAG and several other mirror committees were involved in its development?
LB: From the U.S. side, we had legal, audit, consulting, and investigative expertise involved in drafting the 37001 handbook. It was a multilateral effort of course, and the U.S. TAG took a lead role.
ANSI: What’s next for ISO TC 309?
LB: Since the publication of the standards on Organizational Governance, Compliance Management Systems and Whistleblower protection, we are working on key performance indicators related to governance and internal investigations [among other efforts].
Experts that wish to get involved with the efforts can contact Leslie Benton at [email protected].