• Governance I Risk I Compliance Management

Incorporating ESG Compliance into management makes companies more profitable

“Customer and supply chain pressures are now driving the message of ESG Compliance down the supply chain of organisations, requesting a reference to ESG strategies from their suppliers. Furthermore, investors increasingly believe that companies that perform well on ESG are less risky, better positioned for the long term, and more prepared for uncertainty.

“Also, organisations that incorporate ESG principles into their management are often more profitable,” feels Zafar I. Anjum, our Group Chief Executive Officer. ABAC™ is one of the key judges at the STAR ESG Positive Impact Awards to be presented in March 2023. 

Perceived risks of bribery and corruption can harm a company

Unfortunately, bribery and corruption can undermine a company’s ESG policies and processes – the perceived risks of bribery and corruption can also lead to a trust deficit in a company. This could happen if investors and shareholders feel its processes and systems are not sufficiently geared to prevent bribery and corruption, says Zafar, speaking on the importance of ESG Compliance in relation to anti-bribery and anti-corruption, to drive Malaysia’s economy forward.

Only the implementation of a robust Anti-Bribery and Anti-Corruption program can reflect positively on a company’s ESG compliance, leading to corporate growth, foreign investment, international recognition, the establishment of a global baseline of standards and, in turn, propelling the nation’s economy, he adds.


Commenting on the urgent ESG issues that need to be addressed by Malaysia/Malaysian companies, in relation to anti-bribery and anti-corruption, Zafar feels, “With Malaysia being downgraded to Tier 3 in the U.S. State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Report, the scrutiny of Malaysian companies’ ESG practices will intensify.”

“Malaysia is currently in the same group as countries with serious allegations of human rights abuses, such as China, Cuba, Venezuela, Iran, Myanmar, Russia and Syria. This downgrade will impact Malaysian stocks, especially companies that employ a large number of foreign workers. And foreign investors will be much more hesitant to consider Malaysia as an investment destination.

A sound ESG Strategy can save the day for your company

“With the world now gravitating toward sustainable investment more than ever, ESG Compliant companies will be preferred by investors, says Zafar, sharing his views on how best to address these issues.

ISO Certification can help boost ESG Compliance

An organization’s ESG strategy can be augmented and advanced through ISO Certification and the implementation of an individual or integrated management systems. For example, a sustainable business process framework might include ISO 37001: 2016 Anti-Bribery Management System standard. This standard provides a framework for implementing reasonable and proportionate measures to prevent bribery and corruption. These measures involve top-level leadership, training, bribery risk assessment, due diligence adequacy, financial and commercial controls, reporting, audit, and investigation.

The standard also mirrors numerous steps contained in the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (DOJ and SEC) and Good Practice Guidance on Internal Controls, Ethics and Compliance (OECD), Anti-Corruption Ethics and Compliance Handbook for Business (OECD), U.K. Bribery Act 2010 and the British Ministry of Justice’s Adequate Procedures document. ISO 37001 ABMS Standard is flexible and can be adapted to manage many types of bribery and suit any business locally or worldwide.

ISO 37001 isn’t the only standard that addresses these risks; take ISO 37301:2021 Compliance Management Systems. CMS helps organizations to comply with the legislation that is applicable to them and with the commitments assumed by their stakeholders. They reduce the economic or reputational risks of failing to comply with them and are a fundamental tool for organizations to comply with their corporate social responsibility policies. They undoubtedly help to create a culture of integrity and compliance that fosters sustained success and the organization’s survival.

One of the many benefits of ISO certification is that it is designed to fit together like a puzzle. If you are certified under, for example, ISO 37000:2021 Governance of Organizations, you will be familiar with ISO 37002:2021 Whistleblowing Management Systems.

All ISO standards have in common their ability to help organizations achieve greater profits by managing the processes.

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About Zafar I. Anjum

Zafar I. Anjum, CEO of the ABAC Group has meticulously built a 30 years’ career in the areas of anti-corruption, compliance, risk management, fraud prevention, protective integrity, security and compliance.

Zafar is a highly respected professional in his field. As a trusted authority in anti-bribery and anti-corruption, fraud risk assessment and prevention, corporate compliance evaluation, securities among corporate clients, government agencies and industry groups, he is known for creating a stable and secure networks across challenging global markets.

With an impressive educational background coupled with his industry expertise, Zafar Anjum is often the first certified global investigator on the scene when multi-national EMEA corporations seek to close compliance, anti-bribery and anti-corruption or corporate security gaps.

Enhancing his educational background in 1989 with his Bachelor of Arts Degree; he then went on to earn a Master of Science in Counter Fraud and Counter Corruption University of Portsmouth in the United Kingdom along with specialised knowledge and certification in Fraud Investigations, Fraud and Financial Crimes, Corporate Fraud Control and Anti-Corruption.

He was also awarded with a Distinction in Master of Fraud and Financial Crime and was included in the Executive Dean’s List of 2016 by Charles Sturt University, Australia, all the while continuing to earn his LL.M Legal Practice (Master of Laws) (Intellectual Property) from the University of Law in the United Kingdom, which he was completed in February 2019.

Alongside to enhanced further capabilities and competencies specifically in Bribery Risk Assessment framework, he is undertaking ICA International Diploma in Governance Risk, and Compliance, ICA International Diploma in Financial Crime and Prevention, ICA International Diploma in Anti Money Laundering from International Compliance Training Academy in the United Kingdom which is mapped and are also awarded in association with Alliance Manchester Business School, The University of Manchester.

Both his training and business acumen give Zafar Anjum in-depth precision when dealing with fraud risk management, security consultations, crime investigations, crisis management, risk governance, event security and strategic threat management for industry leaders seeking proactive long-term risk prevention.

His leadership abilities create strong collaborative relationships among prevention teams, crime investigators, government officials, as well as business executives seeking dynamic solutions across international marketplaces.

For industries needing large project management, safeguard testing and real-time compliance applications, Zafar Anjum is the assurance expert of choice for industry professionals.

Zafar’s qualifications at a glance:
MSc, MS, LLM, CFE, CII, CIS, Int. Dip. (Fin. Crime), MICA, MIPI, MAB
(Certified Fraud Examiner)
(Certified International Investigator)
(MSc Counter Fraud and Counter Corruption Studies, University of Portsmouth UK)
(Master of Fraud and Financial Crime – CSU Australia)
LL.M Legal Practice (Intellectual Property)