The ISO 37001: 2017 standard is, regrettably, currently valid for adopting the best business practices against bribery and corruption in all its shapes, which have become a disease that affects all sectors of society and has a series of consequences that must be known.
How to fight against corruption
It is necessary to take measures to avoid that this scourge continues to spread. Some measures are taken from the governmental level and others from the business scope.
One of the most striking actions is the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention, as well as the Working Group on Bribery. With the participation of forty States, a legally binding agreement is signed. The countries that have joined the convention determine “to establish as a crime the bribery of a foreign public servant” in the laws of the country, in addition to creating policies aimed at detecting, avoiding and punishing international bribery.
The United Nations Convention against Corruption, for its part, establishes a series of norms and measures that countries can apply to strengthen their mechanisms to combat bribery and corrupt activities.
In this area, it is very useful to follow the guidelines of the Global Compact to improve corporate social responsibility. In this sense, it is recommended to follow the indications of Principle 10. For this, for example, the Business Principles can be applied to counteract bribery, an existing publication also in the SME version. Although it starts with principles that are (or should be) obvious, throughout the document, key points are drawn with which we must take special care, conflicts of interest, relations with politics, etc. It is quite practical, because it contemplates real examples that anyone could find in the day to day of a company.
The ISO 37001: 2017 standard is another very useful tool in this matter. It was established with the main objective of helping companies fight bribery, as well as to achieve an ethical business culture. As already indicated, it is a voluntary standard. However, the fact that ISO standards have such recognition and acceptance means that companies consider adopting them very positive. This norm fulfills a double role: on the one hand, it supposes a great help in the fight against corruption; on the other hand, the companies that implement it enjoy better consideration than those that do not. Given the current outlook regarding corrupt practices, all aid is little to get the trust of clients and investors.
Do not be naive to think that implementing this rule guarantees that a company is totally free of bribes. In fact, what it proposes is a series of measures for companies to establish controls in order to prevent, detect and treat the risk of bribery.
However, despite not guaranteeing that there is no corruption in the company, it is a clear indication that the organization is committed to anti-bribery strategies recognized in the international arena. In addition, it is applicable in companies of all sizes and sectors of activity.
Finally, it should be noted that this standard, in line with others approved for the design and implementation of management systems, has a common vocabulary with them and is based on the high-level structure Annex SL, which facilitates its integration into other systems of management that are already in use.
- Develop and implement a policy and objectives for anti-bribery management of the organization
- Establish systematic processes that consider their “context” and take into account their risks and opportunities, as well as their legal and other requirements.
- Determine the risks of bribery associated with their activities, seeking to eliminate them or putting controls for their prevention.
- Establish operational controls, control bodies, policies and other actions to manage the risks associated with their business ethics as a result of acts of bribery.
- Increase awareness of the risks involved in not having an ethical business culture that causes confidence in your customers.
- Evaluate the performance of your management system and try to improve it, by adopting appropriate measures.
- Ensure that workers take an active role in anti-bribery issues.
- Improve the capacity to respond to problems of legal and regulatory compliance.
- Reduce overall costs for corruption actions within the organization.
- Reduce downtime and interruption costs of operations.
- Recognition for having achieved an international point of reference (which in turn can influence clients who care about business ethics).
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