What to Expect from ISO 37001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management System?

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Even though the International organization has developed it for Standardization, many are still wondering what to expect from implementing the ISO 37001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management System in their businesses. Questions that usually arise are related to whether this certification is enough to prevent bribery and corruption in organizations, whether it is a silver bullet or not.

We at the ABAC® Center of Excellence have been educating our clients and prospects about the advantages of implementing and certifying for ISO 37001 since the standard started to exist, and we feel that we need to address these questions once again.

You want to enjoy a great reputation among current and potential partners and customers. Serious business people want to collaborate with serious partners. That means seeking relationships with organizations and people who are reliable, honest, and crime free.

If you are serious about doing business, you want to collaborate with such partners. You don’t want to work with dishonest business people; you want to be sought for cooperation only by other honest businesses, ideally certified. That is why it is of utmost importance to get ISO 370001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management System certified. It will serve you to prove to your prospects that you stand against dishonest business practices and they can expect reliability from your side.

There is an ongoing debate, however, that this certification is not a silver bullet for preventing bribery in business. Those who dismiss certifying on these standards complain that the ISO 37001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management System hasn’t been endorsed by certain major authorities, such as the US Department of Justice. Although we have to recognize that they hold a certain amount of truth, these arguments are not good enough for dismissing the certification.

No law in the world could make a society or a business bulletproof to corruption. Hence standards are not silver bullets either. It is no secret that societies and businesses sometimes fail in preventing bribery and other forms of corruption. Nevertheless, they are responsible for taking all the possible measures to protect themselves against all these practices.

Among other things they could do is certify themselves according to ISO 37001:2016 ABMS requirements. As you may know already, not every organization can be certified. You have to prove that you meet certain standards to get certified. These standards include:

  • Implementing internal anti-bribery controls
  • Top management has an active role in implementation and maintenance of the anti-bribery management system
  • Measures to secure that everyone in the organization understands the system and is prepared to execute his or her responsibilities concerning bribery prevention
  • Adequate assessments of risks posed by counterparties
  • Adequate response to violations related to bribery and corruption
  • There are effective mechanisms for raising concerns about bribery issues, etc.

Having all these measures in place, you’ve already done a great job for your organization. It will let you tackle bribery and corruption as much as possible.

However, no one will know that you’ve put all this procedures and practices in place. You’ll know yourself, but your prospects and partners won’t. This is where a third party certification comes handy. Having someone else from outside confirm that you don’t allow corrupt practices at your organization will boost your reputation. It will send a message to others that you are a reliable business who is here to make a good impact in society, not just for lucrative reasons.

The other argument that we at ABAC® Center of Excellence often hear from complainers is that some authorities do not recognize the certification. Most notably, it hasn’t been endorsed by the US Department of Justice.

A very important fact to know about the ISO 37001 standard is that the International Organization for Standardization has developed it. It is an international standard-setting body that works in 161 countries. When ISO was developing this standard, 67 countries participated, and the United States standardization body was among them. Accepting an ISO standard does not require endorsement by government organizations. Moreover, the ISO 37001 has been recognized and accepted by more than 90% of the countries - members of ISO. In practice, it’s an effective tool for proving an organization’s dedication to fighting corruption internally and honestly doing business.

No doubt, getting an ISO 37001 by a third party will provide numerous advantages for your organization. Reasons why you should get certified include, but are not limited to:

  • An independent third party will confirm that you are compliant with anti-bribery regulations
  • You are going to unite your company for a common goal - tackling bribery and corruption
  • You send a message that you are a serious and reliable business partner who is in the business to make an impact and bring good to society, not just for lucrative reasons
  • You’ll protect your organizations, its assets, shareholders and employees from the devastating effects of corruption
  • A proof that your organization has taken necessary steps for prevention of bribery and corruption on organizational level

ABAC® Center of Excellence can help you in getting an ISO 37001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management System certification and prove your compliance with anti-corruption laws. Unlike accounting companies, we are a certification body and will ensure that you meet the highest ethical standards in doing business. Feel free to contact us for further information. 


1. Transparency international, titled "INTERNATIONAL ANTI-BRIBERY STANDARD ISO 37001" http://www.transparency.org.uk/international-anti-bribery-standard-iso-37001/#.WoRryKjFKUk
2. ISO, titled "ISO: a global network of national standards bodies" https://www.iso.org/members.html