Happy anniversary, ISO 37001 ABMS!

October 14, 2020
ISO 37001 ABMS, anti-bribery, anti-corruption

Four years ago, back on October 14, 2016, the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) published the new standard, focused on helping organisations fighting bribery and corruption and ensuring the compliance with anti-bribery anti-corruption controls. This newly launched ISO 37001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management System (ABMS) standard focused on specifying requirements and providing guidance for establishing, implementing, maintaining, reviewing and improving organisations’ anti-bribery management systems.

The standard’s requirements are generic and are intended to be applicable to all organisations (or parts of an organization), regardless of type, size and nature of activity, and whether in the public, private or not-for-profit sectors“, and this helped ISO 37001 ABMS to become popular between its supporters and critics. Some regulatory bodies and compliance communities initially expressed concern regarding the lack of a body of evidence supporting the effectiveness of ISO 37001:2016 from certain standpoints. Critics asserted that the new standard failed to address broad compliance concerns, and questioned whether ISO 37001:2016 certification alone can prevent bribery and prosecution. These observations should certainly be weighed and considered, as any new compliance standard must be properly evaluated on its merits. In the case of ISO 37001, however, the critics have made some misjudgments in regards to the key factors they feel are in question with the standard.

It has been an interesting journey for ABAC® and its team of outstanding professionals around the world.  Listening to our clients’ stories, experiences on how bribery is a huge issue in their countries and having endless discussions about if this standard would help them, ABAC® is pleased to say it has been four very successful years to all of them.

Internationally recognised standard

The standard mirrors numerous steps contained in the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the UK Bribery Act 2010 and other major legislation. After its launch, the standard has become the important go-to tool for organisations willing to effectively prevent bribery and corruption happening inside and outside their businesses. Since ISO 37001 plays a pivotal role in demonstrating “adequate procedures” as featured in international and local legislation, global organisations started to recognise the benefits of achieving this certification to make sure they have these processes and procedures in place. After implementing the standard in their compliance and risk management systems, organisations also can:

  • Ensure that your organisation is implementing a viable anti-bribery management system using widely accepted controls and systems.
  • Give your company the tools it needs to prevent bribery and mitigate related risks
  • Provide assurance to management, investors, business associates, personnel and other stakeholders that the organisation is actively pursuing internationally recognised and accepted processes to prevent bribery and corruption.
  • Help your company create new and better business partnerships with entities that recognise your certified status, including supply chain manufacturing, joint ventures, pending acquisitions and co-marketing alliances
  • Potentially reduce corporate insurance premiums
  • Provide your customers, stakeholders, employees and partners with confidence in your business operations and ethics
  • Provide a competitive edge over non-certified organisations in your industry or niche
  • Provide acceptable evidence to prosecutors or courts that the organisation has taken reasonable steps to prevent bribery and corruption

ISO 37001 certifies that your organisation has implemented reasonable and proportionate measures to prevent bribery. These measures involve top-level leadership, training, bribery risk assessment, due diligence adequacy, financial and commercial controls, reporting, audit, and investigation.

An invaluable component of anti-bribery, anti-corruption, compliance and risk management strategies

The first step of demonstrating your organisation’s commitment to implementing an effective anti-bribery management system is to commit to ISO 37001 training and/or certification. Consider ISO 37001:2016 ABMS as one of the invaluable tools of your Third-Party Risk Management Strategy. Combined with due diligencebackground screeningbusiness intelligence and compliance solutions, ISO  37001 certification and training can lift your risk management process and help your business mitigate risks from third-party affiliations, protecting your organisation from liability, brand damage and harm to the business.

ISO 37001 is also compatible with another internationally recognised standard, ISO 19600 Compliance management system. It covers all compliance-related issues including anti-trust, fraud, misconduct, export control, anti-money laundering, and other unexpected risks which might affect your business. While ISO 19600 provides organisations with guidelines for implementing appropriate measures to prevent, detect and monitor compliance, it does not explicitly layout the requirements needed to address bribery and corruption – ISO 37001 ABMS does. Our fully equipped auditors and analysts work with your team in benchmarking the compliance and anti-bribery management systems in accordance with all international standards. Both certifications help the organisation and its top management, compliance officers, risk managers, internal and external auditors, and all related personnel to work together towards implementing adequate measures to prevent non-compliant behaviour – adopting certification and/or training in these standards adds the extra security level to your risk management strategies and helps to ensure the 360-degrees compliance management.

Achieving ISO 37001 certification

In order to offer you ISO 37001 training and/or certification, CRI Group launched an Anti-Bribery and Anti-Corruption (ABAC®) Center of Excellence – an independent accredited certification body that operates through its global networks of certified ethics and compliance professionals, qualified auditors, financial and corporate investigators, certified fraud examiners, forensic analysts and accountants with diversified backgrounds. Providing a robust anti-bribery and anti-corruption program increases your company’s protection from unethical behaviour. An ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure. Learn more about the ISO 37001 certification today.

What do ISO 37001 certified clients say?

Earlier this year, ABAC® Certification has certified RM Leopad Sdn Bhd, a Malaysian-based group offering corrosion protection services for the energy industry, and Mudajaya Group Bhd, a leading construction-property-independent power production company based in Malaysia, after conducting a comprehensive examination of clients’ anti-bribery policies and procedures, as per the directives laid out in ISO 37001:2016 ABMS and the local regulatory requirements. What do our clients say about ISO 37001 certification? Read below!

“ISO 37001 certification provides an anti-bribery and anti-corruption framework for working with third-party clients throughout the Middle East. It’s also an important distinction for Apex as a leading third-party services provider in the shipping industry, [we are] proud to be a leader in the maritime shipping industry on the forefront of preventing bribery and corruption”.

Arslan AliCEO of Apex

“At Mudajaya Group, our mission includes a commitment to meeting international standards and the expectations of our stakeholders. For us, that means standing against bribery and corruption with the highest level of integrity and transparency. Earning ISO 37001 certification is a perfect way for Mudajaya to demonstrate that commitment.”

Ir. James Wong Tet FohMudajaya Group Managing Director & CEO

RM Leopad Sdn Bhd is very proud to achieve this ISO 37001:2016 certification. By this we have demonstrated that we are strongly committed to the highest standards of integrity and transparency in all our activities. This is a testimony of RM Leopad’s quest to incorporate this into our work culture both locally and internationally.”

D.K. GuruCEO of RM Leopad

About ABAC® Center of Excellence

ABAC® Center of Excellence is an independent certification body powered by CRI Group. ABAC® offers a complete suite of services and solutions designed to educate, equip and support the world’s leading business organisations with the latest best-in-practice risk & performance assessments, systems improvement & standards certification. Find out more about ABAC®!

ABAC® programs protect your organisation from damaging litigation & safeguard your business in the global marketplace by providing certification & training in internationally recognised ISO standards, such as ISO 37001 Anti-Bribery Management SystemsISO 19600 Compliance Management Systems and ISO 31000 Risk Management Systems.

Based in London, CRI Group works with companies across the Americas, Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia-Pacific as a one-stop international Risk ManagementEmployee Background ScreeningBusiness IntelligenceDue DiligenceCompliance Solutions and other professional Investigative Research solutions provider. We have the largest proprietary network of background-screening analysts and investigators across the Middle East and Asia. Our global presence ensures that no matter how international your operations are we have the network needed to provide you with all you need, wherever you happen to be. CRI Group also holds BS 102000:2013 and BS 7858:2012 Certifications, is an HRO certified provider and partner with Oracle. Contact CRI Group today for further information on how CRI Group can help your business.