Barely three years old and already an integral part of the business world: The international standard for anti-corruption management systems ISO 37001. Find out in this article why so many companies are currently opting for certification.

1. Corruption is a problem - everywhere

Many believe that corruption is limited to low-income countries. However, a survey by the financial auditing firm Ernst & Young paints a different picture. It shows that in the past two years, for example one in six companies in Germany has experienced a major case of fraud. A rate that was somewhat lower in the survey two years ago. This is reason enough to take the issue of corruption seriously, no matter your latitude.

2. Forewarned is forearmed

ISO 37001 provides guidance on designing an effective anti-corruption management system. By implementing the requirements of the standard, organizations can reduce the risk of individual and institutional misconduct and prevent corruption.

3. If incidents do occur, you are legally protected

In the event of a regulatory or criminal investigation, the standard will help companies and organizations demonstrate that appropriate steps have been taken to prevent corruption. This already has the effect of mitigating punishment in some jurisdictions. Conversely, it can be expected that corruption will be punished even more severely in the future - because what is avoidable will also be punished more severely.

4. Proportionate effort

Entire departments in many large German companies, for example, deal with the topic of compliance. For small and medium-sized companies, such a department is not practical - too costly. This is where ISO 37001 can provide a remedy, because the standard can be adapted to a wide variety of organization types. Measures must be adapted to the size, structure, locations, industry, scope and complexity of activities, and risks of the organization in question, whether it is a large company or an association, and must be proportionate. In line with this principle of appropriateness, organizations also need not fear excessive bureaucracy.

5. Competitive advantages

Anti-corruption certification can bring economic benefits because it sends a strong signal to buyers, customers and consumers. Competitive advantages and a strengthened reputation can result from the organization's formal and strong commitment to the fight against corruption.

6. No nasty surprises with
business partners

Due diligence takes a central aspect in ISO 37001, especially the screening of business partners. By implementing an effective anti-corruption management system, you ensure that your suppliers also take the issue seriously.

7. Stakeholder trust

ISO 37001 contains requirements that can be verified and certified. Certification therefore provides assurance to management, investors, employees, customers as well as other stakeholders that steps are being taken to minimize corruption risks. In general, ISO 37001 certification is seen as evidence that meaningful steps are being taken to prevent bribery and corruption.

8. Corporate culture

The implementation of ISO 37001 contributes to a culture of integrity, transparency and regularity and recognizes the importance and protection of whistleblowers. This has a positive impact on the corporate culture.

DQS - Your partner for ISO 37001 certification

As an accredited certification body, we rely exclusively on experienced auditors, create additional value through meaningful audit reports and guide you through the entire ISO 37001 certification process. In this way, we contribute to the sustainable success of our customers. You can find more information about ISO 37001 here.

Constanze Illner

Constanze Illner (she/her) is Research and Communications Officer in the area of sustainability and food safety. In this position, she keeps an eye on all important developments in this context and informs our clientele in a monthly newsletter. She also moderates the annual Sustainability Heroes conference.


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